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Full text of "A practical treatise on the ordinary operations of the Holy Spirit"

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THE ORDINARY OPERATIONS 



BY 

THE REV. G. S. FABER, B. D. 

11ECTOP. OF LONG-NEWTON, IN THE COUNTY AND DIOCESE 
OF DURHAM. 



. 2 Cor. iii. 6\ 



OI (ragxxoj rot. Trvsuju-anxa Trpacrtreiv ou Swvavraj, oySs 
oJ 7rv8w/*Txoi T <rgxxa. Ignat. Epist. ad Ephes. 



SECOND EDITION. 



lontion : 

PRINTED BY A. J. VALPY, 

TOOKE'S COURT, CHANCERY LANE, 

*'OH MESSRS. F. C. AND J. RIVINGTON, ST. PAUt's CHURCH YAKD. 
1814. 



TO 

THE INHABITANTS 

OF THE THREE PARISHES OF 
STOCKTON-UPON-TEES, REDMARSHALL, 

AND LONG-NEWTON; 

OF WHICH, IN THE COURSE OF THE LAST SEVEN 

YEARS, BY THE UNREMITTING KINDNESS OF 

ONE REVERED PATRON, THE AUTHOR 

HAS BEEN SUCCESSIVELY VICAR OR 

RECTOR; THIS WORK is INSCRIBED 

BY THEIR SINCERE FRIEND AND 
WELL-WISHER, 

G. S. FABER. 



THE Reader will perceive by the date annexed to the 
Preface, that this work has been written several years. 
In fact, the Author was in no haste to publish on a sub- 
ject which, however important, requires some degree of 
prudence in the discussion. It has been his wish to exhibit 
what he believes, to the best of his judgment, to be the 
doctrines andpractice taught by that pure and apostolical 
Church, of which he feels it his privilege to be a minister. 
In revising what he has written, though after a consider- 
able period of time, he did not Jind that any alterations 
were necessary beyond mere verbal corrections. 



Long-Newton Rectory, 
Jan.lQ, 1813. 



PREFACE. 



JLVERY person, who is in the least de- 
gree acquainted with the corruption of the 
human heart, will readily acknowledge, 
that his own unassisted abilities are totally 
unequal to the task of faithfully serving 
God. Repeated violations of the most 
solemn resolutions of amendment have 
shown him his weakness ; and his numer- 
ous lapses have wofully convinced him, 



that he stands in need of some divine con- 
ductor to lead him in safety through the 
perilous journey of life. Such a guide is 
promised in Scripture to every sincere 
Christian. 

We are not to suppose, that the ordi- 
nary operations of the Holy Spirit were 
confined to the apostolic age. Human 
nature is much alike, at all periods, and in 
all countries. Though Christianity is now 
established, and though miraculous inter- 
ference is no longer necessary to the well- 
being of the Church ; }^et the present race 
of men will never be essentially better 
than their heathen predecessors, so long 
as they rest satisfied with having only 
outwardly embraced the religion of the 



XI 

Messiah. A mere hypocritical and exter- 
nal profession of faith cannot be pleasing 
to that God, who regards motives no less 
than actions. A radical change must take 
place in the heart, as well as an outward 
reformation in the manners ; and this 
change can only be effected by the agency 
of some superior power. The heart is as 
much averse now to the genuine practice 
of piety, as it was in the days of the 
Apostles ; and, though we have no longer 
to combat the horrors of persecution, we 
have still to struggle with the unwillingness 
and corruption of the soul. If the whole 
of religion consisted in the bare belief of 
certain tenets and in the due observance 
of certain ceremonies, we should find very 
little difficulty in becoming thoroughly 



Xll 

religious characters. But, when we are 
called upon to begin the work of self- 
reformation : when we are required to love 
God with all our heart, with all our soul, 
and with all our strength ; when we are 
enjoined to prefer, upon all occasions, his 
will to our own, and to sacrifice our bosom 
sins, our darling vices, upon the altar of 
Christianity ; then commences the struggle : 
the inbred venom of our nature imme- 
diately shows itself; our very spirit rises 
both against the law and the lawgiver ; and 
we discover the utter impossibility of vork- 
ing any change in our affections merely by 
our own efforts. No human arguments 
can persuade a man to love what he hates, 
and to delight in what he detests. Sub- 
mission they may perhaps teach him ; but 



Xlll 

it will be the sullen submission of a slave, 
not the cheerful acquiescence of a son. 
To produce this change is the peculiar 
office of the Holy Spirit ; and, since none 
but he can produce it, his ordinary influ- 
ence is absolutely and universally necessary 
at present, and will be equally so even to 
the very end of the world. 

In the following pages, I have en- 
deavoured to state what appears to me 
the plain doctrine of Scripture and the 
Church of England. Though we are re- 
peatedly assured by the word of God, 
that of ourselves we can do no good thing; 
yet we are never represented as mere ma- 
chines, subjected to an overwhelming and 
irresistible influence. The aid of the Holy 



XIV 

Spirit is freely offered unto all ; nor does 
that blessed Person cease to strive even 
with the most profligate, till they have 
obstinately rejected the counsel of God 
against themselves. The still small voice 
of conscience, which is in effect the voice 
of God, long continues to admonish them; 
and the extreme difficulty, which they find 
in silencing it, sufficiently shows how un- 
willing the Almighty is that any should 
perish. All, that will, may be saved ; for 
our Lord hath expressly declared, that, 
whosoever cometh unto him, he will in no 
wise cast him out. Let none therefore 
despair on the ground of their being 
rejected by a tremendous and irreversible 
decree of exclusion : for surely, if such a 
decree existed, God's repeated expostula- 



tions with sinners for slighting his gracious 
offers, when at the same time they lay 
under a fatal necessity of slighting them, 
would be a solemn mockery, unworthy of 
a being of infinite mercy and holiness. 

In fact, the general experience of man- 
kind perfectly agrees with Scripture. 
There never yet was a good man who did 
not find that he both required and received 
divine assistance to enable him to over- 
come his corruptions ; and there never yet 
was a bad man, who did not perceive 
somewhat within him forcibly restraining 
him from the commission of sin, and warm- 
ly urging him to the practice of holiness. 
Half of the follies and vanities of the 
world are mere contrivances to silence 



XVI 

this troublesome monitor. Men love dark- 
ness rather than light, simply because their 
deeds are evil. 

May 21, 1800. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAP. I. 

PACK 



THE necessity of the ordinary operations of the 
Holy Spirit shown from a view of the state of 
man by nature ; his understanding, his will, and 
his affections, being all depraved in conse- 
quence of original sin 



CHAP. II. 

The illumination of the understanding through the 
influence of the Holy Spirit, the first work of 
grace in the human soul 



CONTENTS. 

CHAP. HI. 

PACK 

A description of two different classes of men, 
whose understandings are enlightened, while 
their hearts remain unaffected 



CHAP. IV. 
The influence of the Holy Spirit upon the will 102 



CHAP. V. 

The influence of the Holy Spirit upon the affec- 

134 

tions .... 



CHAP. VI. 
The Holy Spirit, a comforter, and an intercessor 165 



CONTENTS. ix 

CHAP. VII. 

PAGE 

The fruits of the Spirit contrasted with the works 

of the flesh 193 



CHAP. VIII. 

The constant influence of the Holy Spirit neces- 
sary to conduct us in safety to the end of our 
pilgrimage 283 




ON 
THE ORDINARY OPERATIONS 

OF THE 



Spirit* 



CHAP. I. 

The necessity of the ordinary operations of the Spirit 
shown from a view of the state of man by nature ; his 
understanding) his will, and his affections, being alt 
depraved in consequence of original sin. 



IN the last solemn discourse, which' our 
blessed Lord addressed to his disciples im- 
mediately before his bitter sufferings upon 
the cross, he promised them another Com- 
forter, \vho should abide with them for 
ever. Though he himself was about to be 
shortly separated from them and to sit down 

at the right hand of his Father, yet his 

A 



place should be abundantly supplied by 
the effusion of the Spirit of truth. The 
world indeed cannot receive this divine 
Person, because it seeth him not, neither 
knoweth him ; but it is the peculiar charac- 
teristic of the true disciples of Christ, that 
they do know him, jor he dwelleth with 
them, and shall be in them. 1 Accordingly, 
in due season, and pursuant to the decla- 
ration of Christ, the Holy Ghost descended 
upon the Apostles, and conferred upon 
them spiritual gifts both extraordinary and 
ordinary. By the reception of the former 
they were specially qualified to discharge 
the duties of their important office, and 
were awfully and incontrovertibly accredit- 
ed to every nation as the peculiar delegates 
of heaven : by the reception of the latter 
they were eminently endowed with all the 
pure dispositions of a renewed heart, and 

1 John xiv. 1 6. 



were enabled to testify the reality of their 
internal change by an exact holiness of life 
and conversation. 

Extraordinary gifts they received for the 
benefit of the church : ordinary gifts they 
received for their own personal benefit. 
Extraordinary gifts were conferred upon a 
few only : of those ordinary gifts, without 
which no real sanctification can be attained, 
without which a man must labour under a 
physical incapacity of enjoying the kingdom 
of heaven, it is the privilege of every genu- 
ine Christian to be a partaker. They are 
ordinary, not as inferior in point of import- 
ance to the possessor (for in this respect 
they are superior) ; but as gifts ordinarily 
bestowed upon all the faithful, and not limit- 
ed after an extraordinary manner to a few. 

Since those miraculous powers, which 
were conferred upon the founders of the 



4 

Christian church* were designed only for a 
special and determinate purpose ; as that 
purpose was gradually accomplished, the 
powers were gradually withdrawn, until at 
length they entirely ceased. The religion 
of the Messiah, after the lapse of three 
centuries, obtained a firm establishment; 
princes became its nursing fathers ; and 
they, who refused to yield to the voice of 
reason and evidence, had no longer convic- 
tion forced upon them by a supernatural 
interference of heaven. Signs and wonders 
ceased to attend the preaching of the Gos- 
pel ; yet the promise, that the Holy Spirit 
should abide for ever with the disciples of 
Christ, remained unbroken, and we trust 
will remain unbroken to the very end 
of time. Neither the sight of miracles, nor 
the ability of performing them, has simply 
and per se any effect upon the human heart. 
They may perhaps dreadfully convince the 
understanding ; but God alone can convert 



the soul. The state of man by nature is 
precisely the same now, as it was in the 
days of the Apostles : consequently, if it 
were then necessary that the Holy Spirit 
should reprove the world of sin, of righteous- 
ness, and of judgment ; it is no less neces- 
sary in the present age. The world indeed 
is called Christian ; but practical infidelity 
still flourishes in all its baneful luxuriancy. 
It matters not what a man is denominated, 
so long as his heart is alienated from God ; 
and a bare assent of his understanding will 
be of little avail, if his life prove him to be 
the slave of Satan. On this account the 
ordinary operations of the Spirit are conti- 
nued, though the extraordinary ones have 
long been unknown in the church of 
Christ. 

A state of nature is constantly opposed 
in Scripture to a state of grace. The first 
is the wretched inheritance bequeathed to 



6 

us by our common progenitor Adam : the 
second is the free and unmerited gift of 
God the Father, purchased for us by God 
the Son, and conveyed to us by God the 
Holy Ghost. The whole then of the work, 
carried on in the soul of man by the third 
person of the blessed Trinity, may be briefly 
denned ; A gradual restoration of that image 
of God, in the likeness of which Adam was 
created, and the lineaments of which were 
totally obliterated by sin. 1 The work is 

1 " To discover wherein such image and likeness con- 
sisted, what better method can we take, than to inquire 
wherein consist that divine image and likeness, which, as 
the Scriptures of the New Testament inform us, were 

4, -^ 

restored in human nature, through the redemption and 
grace of Christ, who was manifested for that purpose. 
The image restored was the image lost ; and the image 
lost was that, in which Adam was created. The expres- 
sions, employed by the penmen of the New Testament, 
plainly point out to us this method of proceeding Re- 
newed in knowledge after the image of him that created 
him Put on the new man, which after God is created in 
righteousness and true holiness. The divine image then is 



begun , continued, and perfected, by the 
Holy Spirit. He is equally the author and 
the finisher of our faith ; and without him 
we can do no good thing. From the first 
faint motions of spiritual life to its final 
consummation in the realms of everlasting 

o 

happiness, all the honour and all the glory 
of our growth in grace be ascribed unto 
him ! 

When the Almighty ceased from the 
work of creation, he pronounced all that he 
had made to be very good. The new world 
was as yet free from the inroads of sin, and 
from the curse of sterility. 



to be found in the understanding, and the will ; in the 
understanding which knows the truth, and in the will 
which loves it. This divine image is restored in human 
nature by the word of Christ enlightening the understand- 
ing, and the grace of Christ rectifying the will." Bp. 
Home's Sermons, vol. i. p. 20, 21, 22. 



8 

-. Nature then 

Wanton'd as in her prime, and play'd at will 
Her virgin fancies 



The whole creation smiled upon man, 
and the golden age of the poets was realized. 
Blessed with perfect health both mental and 
corporeal, our heaven-born progenitor was 
equally unconscious of the stings of guilt 
and the pangs of disease. His understand- 
ing was unclouded with the mists of vice, 
ignorance, and error ; his will, though ab- 
solutely free, was yet entirely devoted to the 
service of God ; and his affections, warm, 
vigorous, and undivided, were ardently bent 
upon the great fountain of his existence. 
Though vested in an earthly body, his soul 
was as the soul of an angel, pure, just, and 
upright. He was uncontaminated with the 
smallest sin, and free from even the slight- 
est taint of pollution. His passions, per- 



9 

fectly under the guidance of his reason, 
3 T ielded a ready and cheerful obedience 
to the dictates of his conscience ; an 
obedience, not constrained and irksome, 
but full, unreserved, and attended with 
sensations of unmixed delight. Such was 
man when he came forth from the hand of 
his Creator, the image of God stamped 
upon his soul and influencing all his 
actions. 

This blissful state of innocence was soon 
forfeited by our first parents. In an evil 
hour they yielded to the suggestions of the 
tempter, and violated the express command 
of God. Pride, that most deeply rooted 
bane of our nature, was now, for the first 
time, infused into the heart of the woman. 
She vainly desired a greater share of wis- 
dom, than God had been pleased to grant 
unto her ; and, in order to obtain that 



10 

wisdom, scrupled not to disobey her Ma- 
ker. The man followed her example, and 
joined her in a mad rebellion against 
heaven. Sin entered into the world and 
death closely followed its footsteps. The 
image of God was obliterated, and the 
image of Satan was erected in its stead. 

Mysterious as the doctrine of original 
depravity may be, no man, unless he be to- 
tally unacquainted with the workings of his 
own heart, can possibly doubt its actual 
existence. Some persons indeed are so far 
blinded by the deceitfulness of sin as to de- 
ny the doctrine in question ; but " I verily 
believe," to use the words of the excellent 
Beveridge, "that the want of such a due 
sense of themselves argues as much original 
corruption, as murder and whoredom do 
actual pollution : and I shall ever suspect 
those to be the most under the power of 



11 

that corruption, that labour most by argu- 
ments to divest it of its power." 1 

I. Examine first the understanding, and 
you will find it, at least so far as relates to 
spiritual things, dark and confused. 

The Apostle, describing the state of the 
world previous to the diffusion of Christian 
knowledge, asserts, that ir.en had become 

O ' ' 

vain in their imaginations, and that thdr fool- 
ish heart was darkened; that, prof essing them- 
selves to be wise, they became fools ; and, 
though proud of their attainments in a subtle 
philosophy, that in the sight of God they 
were without understanding. 1 In a similar 
manner he elsewhere declares, that the natu- 
ral man rcceiveth not the things of the Spirit 
of God ; for they are foolishness unto him : 
neither can he know them, because they are spi- 

1 Private Thoughts, Art. iv. * Rom. i. 21, 22. 31. 



ritually discerned. 1 His Jmowledge of divine 
matters, in consequence of his being de- 
based by the fall, is as much inferior to 
true heavenly wisdom, as the instinct of a 
brute is to the reason of a human being. 
On this account, as St. Paul scruples not 
strongly to express himself, even the 
wisdom of the Almighty himself is foolish- 
ness to man in a state of nature. Having 
no faculties capable in themselves of em- 
bracing spiritual truths, he is as much un- 
qualified to decide upon them, as a man 
born blind is to discriminate between the 
various tints of the rainbow ; for, as the 
one is defective in spiritual, so is the other 
in corporeal, discernment. No treatise on 
light and colours, however minute and ac- 

O ' 

curate, can give a distinct idea of their 
nature to a man born blind ; nor can any 
description of spiritual things, however 

* 1 Cor. ii. 14. 



13 

just, communicate a clear conception of 
them to him whose understanding is dark- 
ened. The reason, which the Apostle 
gives, is simply because they must be spiritu- 
ally discerned ; consequently, till that spirit- 
ual discernment be communicated, heaven- 
ly wisdom must and will appear foolishness 
in his eyes. " Let us then," as we are well 
exhorted by the Church in one of her homi- 
lies ; " Let us meekly call upon the boun- 
tiful Spirit, the Holy Ghost, to inspire us 
with his presence, that we may be able to 
hear the goodness of God to our salvation. 
For without his lively inspiration we can- 
not so much as speak the name of the Me- 
diator. No man can say, that Jesus is the 
Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Much less 
should we be able to understand these great 
mysteries, that be opened to us by Christ. 
For we have received, saith St. Paul, not the 
spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is 
f God, for this purpose, that we may know 



14 

the things which are freely given to us of Goa 
In the power of the Holy Ghost resteth all 
ability to know God, and to please him. It 
is he, that purifieth the mind by his secret 
working. He enlighteneth the heart to con- 
ceive worthy thoughts of Almighty God/' 1 

A work of Cicero, written expressly upon 
the nature of the gods, has been providen- 
tially handed down to us ; and it affords the 
most striking comment possible on the 
scriptural doctrine of the ignorance of man. 
This great philosopher has shown at large, 
to the entire satisfaction of every Christian 
reader, how totally blind the three most 
celebrated sects of antiquity were in all 
those points which are placed beyond the 
cognizance of sense. With a mind alive 
to all the beauties of composition, and 
versed in all the researches of philosophy ; 

1 Homil. for Rogat. Week. Part iii. 



15 

with abilities rarely equalled, perhaps 
never excelled ; the Roman orator ventures 
to soar beyond the bounds of the material 
creation, and to scrutinize the nature of 
the Omnipotent. How are the mighty fal- 
len ! The grossest ignorance, and the 
strangest errors, are the principal character- 
istics of his celebrated treatise. Once, in- 
deed, a consciousness of human inability 
extorts from him a confession, that no man 
ever became great without some divine in- 
spiration ;' but, scarcely has this memorable 
sentiment flowed from his pen, ere the doc- 
trine of an universal providence is ex- 
pressly denied by the advocate of one of 
the contending sects.* 

1 " Nemo igitur vir magnus sine aliquo adflatu divino 
umquam fuit." Cicer. de Nat. Deor. 1. ii. c. 66. 

* " Magna Dl curant, parva negligunt." Ibid. See 
also Tusc. Quses. l.iii. iu init. Plat. Apol. Socrat. sect. 
18. Plat. Phaed. sect. 35. Max. Tyr. Dissert. 22. 
Stob. Excerpt, de mor. Tit. 1 . 



16 

Such was the wisdom of the philoso- 
phers; and thus was their understanding 
darkened, being alienated from the life of 
God through the ignorance that was in 
them, became of the blindness of their 
heart. 1 

II. Let the will next be brought to the 
test, and we shall find it no less deficient 
than the understanding. 

Our inclinations, resolutely bent upon 
earthly and sensual enjoyments, revolt from 
every thing divine and spiritual ; insomuch 
that even a heathen moralist could feel and 
acknowledge their depravation : 

O pronae in terras animae, et coelestium inanes ! 

Hence though we are commanded to work 
out our own salvation with fear and treml- 



1 Ephes. it. 18. 



ling ; yet we are informed at the same time, 
that it is God that worketh in us both to will 
and to do of his good pleasure. 1 God must 
first give us the will, and afterwards the 
power ; otherwise we shall for ever remain 
in a state of spiritual insufficiency. Our 
Lord himself, in perfect harmony with his 
inspired Apostle, declares expressly ; No 
man can come to me, except the Father, 
which hath sent me, draw-him. 1 ' He speaks 
of us also as being naturally in a state of 
bondage, instead of enjoying the high pre- 
rogative of freedom : ye shall know the 
truth, and the truth shall make you free} 
This plain declaration gave high offence to 
the Jews ; but Christ, so far from retracting 
it, asserted, that all those, who commit sin 
(and what man is impeccable?) are the 
servants of sin. To that blessed person 
alone we must look for our emancipation : 

* Philip, ii. 13. a John vi. 44. 3 John viii. .S. 

B 



18 

If the Son shall make you free, ye shall bt 
free indeed. 1 

Upon these solid scriptural grounds, thfc 
Church of England rightly decides, that 
" the condition of man after the fall of 
Adam is such, that he cannot turn and pre- 
pare himself, by his own natural strength 
and good works, to faith and calling upon 
God : wherefore we have no power to do 
good works pleasant and acceptable to 
God without the grace of God by Christ 
preventing us, that we may have a good 
will, and working with us when we have 
that good will/'* Agreeably to such prin- 
ciples one of the prayers in her Liturgy is 
constructed. " Though we be tied and 
bound with the chain of our sins, yet let 
the pitifulness of thy great mercy loose 
us." And the very same doctrine is taught 
in the second part of her Homily on ths 

1 John viii. S6 3 Art. 10. 



19 

misery of man. " Thus we have heard 
how evil we be of ourselves ; how of our- 
selves and by ourselves we have no good- 
ness, help, or salvation, but contrariwise 
sin, damnation, and death everlasting : 
which if we duly weigh and consider, we 
shall the better understand the great mercy 
of God, and how our salvation cometh 
only by Christ : for in ourselves, as of our- 
selves, we find nothing whereby we may be 
delivered from this miserable captivity, 
into the which we are cast through the envy 
of the devil, by breaking of God's com- 
mandment in our first parent Adam. We 
are all become unclean, but we all are not 
able to cleanse ourselves, nor make one 
another of us clean. We are by nature 
the children of God's wrath, but are not 
able to make ourselves the children and in- 
heritors of God's glory. We are sheep 
that run astray, but we cannot of our own 
power come again to the sheep-fold ; so 



20 

great is our imperfection and weakness." 

III. We have hitherto considered the de- 
pravation of the under standing and the dis- 
tortion of the will, in consequence of the 
fall of Adam ; let us next take a view of'the 
heart and the affections. 

1. The passions of love and hatred do 
not appear to have been so much destroy- 
ed, as perverted, at the time of the fall. 
When man came pure and perfect from the 
hands of his Maker, the passions were di- 
rected to their proper objects. God, and 
holiness, were loved ; sin, and impurity, 
were hated. But, after our first parents 

1 The main hinge of the ancient controversies between 
Augustine and Pelagius, and between Luther and the Pa- 
pists, turned upon the doctrine of human sufficiency and the 
meritorious dignity of good works. An epistle of the 
African council, at which Aurelius of Carthage presided, to 
Innocent, Bishop of Rome, briefly states the heads of this 
contested subject. See August. Epist. 90 and 4(3. 
Luther. Enarrat. Fol. 6. c. Melanct. Loc. Theol. 
p. 89. 



21 

had yielded to the temptations of Satan, 
an almost total inversion of the former 
affections of the heart took place. Man 
then began to hate what he ought to love, 
and to love what he ought to hate. The 
pure and holy law of God, which thwarts 
his vicious inclinations, became the object 
of his fiercest aversion ; while, on the con- 
trary, wickedness became his pleasure and 
delight. 1 The second of these propensities is 

1 " Grace cloth not pluck up by the roots and wholly 
destroy the natural passions of the mind, because they are 
distempered by sin ; that were an extreme remedy to cure 
by killing, and heal by cutting off : no, but it corrects the 
distemper in them ; it dries not up this main stream of 
Jove, but purifies it from the mud it is full of in its wrong 
course, or calls it to its right channel by which it may run 
into happiness, and empty itself into the ocean of good- 
ness. The Holy Spirit turns the love of the soul to- 
wards God in Christ, for in that way only can it ap- 
prehend his love: so then, Jesus Christ is the first 
object of this divine love : he is medium unionis, through 
whom God conveys the sense of his love to the soul, and 
receives back its love to him." Archb. Leighton's Com- 
ment, on 1 Peter i. 8, 9- 



ever active ; the first not unfrequently ap- 
pears for a season to lie dormant. This 
lurking enmity towards God slumbered in 
the hearts of the Jews for some ages previous 
to the advent of the Messiah -^ but, when 
the spirituality of his preaching roused 
their consciences and showed them their 
inward abominations, their enmity awoke, 
strong as death and cruel as the grave. 

This doctrine, however, is not unfre- 
quently denied even on the ground of per- 
sonal experience ; and those, who urge it, 
are thought to paint human nature in much 
blacker colours than she really deserves. 
It may perhaps be allowed, that we have 
frailties, venial frailties ; but our nature is 
asserted to be in the main ever favourable 
to virtue, and averse to vice. 

The degree of truth, which such notions 
possess, is best ascertained by simple mat- 



ter of fact. In the person of our blessed 
Saviour virtue itself was embodied. Per- 
fectly just, and absolutely free from even 
the slightest suspicion of criminality, 
Christ was the bright exemplar of the doc- 
trines which he preached. If the love of 
virtue then be inherent in the human mind, 
the Lord of life, condescending to visit the 
haunts of men, must surely have been the 
object of their warmest devotion and their 
most affectionate adoration. Yet was he 
hated, reviled, and persecuted even to 
death, notwithstanding our supposed natu- 
ral propensity to virtue. In a similar 
manner his disciples, the labour of whose 
life consisted in imitating their divine mas- 
ter, were hated of all nations, as their Lord 
had expressly fore told, 1 for his name's sake, 
In other words, the more they approximat- 
ed to perfect virtue, the greater degree of 
odium they incurred. An awful instance 

* Matt. xxiv. !). 



of the bitter enmity of the natural man 
against God and all his faithful servants is 
afforded us in the account of the death of 
St. Stephen. The judges, who presided in 
the mock trial of the protomartyr, even 
gnashed on him with their teeth ; l the violent 
workings of rage in their hearts causing 
them to resemble wild beasts rather than 
men : nor could their animosity be quench- 
ed except in the blood of their devoted 
victim. 

Should it be said, that these are particu- 
lar instances selected only from the history 
of a single nation, let us cast our eyes 
around and contemplate the labours of the 
great Apostle of the Gentiles. Whence was 
it that bonds and afflictions awaited him in 
every city ? Whence, but because the holi- 
ness of his life, and the vehemence of his 
eloquence, held up a mirror before the eyes 
of men, which too faithfully reflected their 

1 Acts vii. 54. 



25 

manifold iniquities ? To approach nearer to 
our own times : what was it, that called 
down the fury of Popery upon the martyrs 
of the Protestant Church ? The same prin- 
ciple, which crucified the Lord of life and 
persecuted his Apostles, consigned to the 
flames a Cranmer, a Latimer, and a Ridley. 
Now, this repeated opposition to the truth 
can only be accounted for upon the scrip- 
tural doctrine, that the carnal mind is 
enmity with God. 1 He, who searcheth the 
very heart and the reins, hath declared, 
that light is come into the zvorld, and men 
loved darkness rather than light, because 
their deeds are evil. For every one that 
doeth evil, hateth the light, neither cometh to 
the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.* 

The fact is, men are apt to deceive them- 
selves into a belief, that their minds are not 
at enmity with God, by the common delu- 
sion of performing their duty only by 

1 Rom. viii. Q. * John iii. 19. 



26 

halves. Different persons are so differently 
constituted, that duties are more or less 
irksome to them, exactly in the proportion 
that they more or less coincide with their 
natural dispositions. Hence, each indivi- 
dual selects the duty which best suits his 
inclinations, and seems almost to forget that 
any others are in existence. The Pharisees 
preserved a very decent exterior, and were 
strict observers of the literal part of the 
Law. Perfectly satisfied with their imagi- 
nary progress in holiness, they placidly 
reclined on the pillow of self-righteousness, 
and felt not the hidden malignity of their 
nature. What they performed were un- 
doubtedly duties; but they were duties, 
which in their situation required no great 
degree of self-denial. The moment an 
awakened conscience forced them to ac- 
knowledge that exertions of a much higher 
nature were necessary to gain the favour of 
heaven, the mask of sanctified hypocrisy 
was dropped, their hatred to God blazed 



27 

out in its full fury, and a deliberate judi* 
cial murder of the discloser of such dis- 
agreeable truths was the result. 

We are sometimes apt complacently to 
thank God, that we are not like the Phari- 
sees ; but, would we candidly examine our 
own hearts, we might possibly find that 
they contain the very same evil disposition 
in embryo. To a man of an active temper, 
a life full of employment is the highest 
source of gratification. Hence, if he have 
received some religious impressions, he feels 
but little repugnance to diverting his acti- 
vity into a different channel from what it 
flowed in before. The same disposition 
remains, though the object which engages 
his attention and rouses the vigour of his 
mind, be now no longer the same. In the 
discharge of active religious duties, he per- 
ceives not the enmity of a corrupt heart 
against God, because from mere physical 
reasons he feels no repugnance against 



28 

them. But if he be called upon to analyse 
the hidden cause of his actions, and to give 
up part of his time to serious meditation ; 
if he be required daily to deny himself, 
and no longer to participate in those vani- 
ties which are usually peculiarly gratifying 
to ardent and sanguine tempers : if such 
requisitions as these be made, then com- 
mences the struggle ; and we too frequently 
behold those, who are foremost in every 
active duty, shrink with disgust from the 
resignation of worldly pleasure. 

On the other hand, men of indolent and 
phlegmatic dispositions would never per- 
ceive their enmity towards God, were 
Christianity a mere negative system of 
quietism. Persons of this description, who 
begin to feel the importance of religion, 
will hear with equal complacency a warm 
exhortation to the duties of the closet, and 
a vehement remonstrance against dissipa- 
tion. They forthwith give themselves up 



29 

to prayer and devout meditation ; they read 
the Scriptures daily; and they steadily 
resolve never more to frequent the haunts 
of vanity and folly. All this they perform 
without any difficulty ; and therefore con- 
clude, that their inclinations are perfectly 
in unison with the will of God, and that 
they have arrived at a considerable degree 
of eminence in the school of Christianity. 
But what are their pretensions to superior 
piety, if they be closely scrutinized ? They 
diligently perform those duties, to which 
simply from their natural constitution 
they have no repugnance ; and resolutely 
deny themselves all those fashionable follies, 
for which they previously entertained the 
most profound indifference. In such a state 
of mind let a course of active duty be urged 
upon them, and they will be effectually 
convinced of their natural hatred to the 
Law of God. Men are very ready to obey, 
so far as obedience is not entirely inconsis- 
tent with their inclinations : hence the opu- 



30 

lent will never take offence at the clergyman 
who happens to preach a concio ad populum 

against theft, nor the populace at him who 

\ 
censures the vices of their superiors. 1 Bur, 

if he faithfully tell both parties their faults; 
if he force his reluctant congregation to 
take a survey of their inward corruptions ; 
and if he declare, that no man can enter 
into the kingdom of heaven unless a com- 
plete and radical change take place in his 
heart : he will find none satisfied with him 
but those, who are resolved to make the 
service of God the main business of their 
lives. In a similar manner, if he assure 
such of his flock as make a great outward 

1 I have somewhere seen a story of Doctor Johnson, 
which may serve not inappositely to exemplify this remark; 
though I by no means think the Doctor's implied censure 
of his mother just. " I remember/' said he to one of his 
ftjends, "when I was a child, that my mother, byway 
of spending a Sunday evening profitably, made me read 
to her a chapter from The Whole Duty of Man against 
stealing : the truth of the doctrine was undeniable, but / 
felt no inclination to be a thief.'"' 



profession of religion, that a vehement zeal 
for certain particular doctrines, a staunch 
adherence to party, a never-ceasing eager- 
ness to discuss theological topics, an in- 
temperate thirst of hearing sermons, and 
a too exclusive partiality for favourite 
preachers, are no certain marks of grace ; 
if he solemnly warn them, that the doers, 
not the hearers of God's word, are treading 
the path which leads to heaven? and if he 
remind them, that the shibboleth of a sect 
is by no means an evidence of real Chris- 
tianity : it is far from improbable, that his 
plain-dealing will be very ill received. So 
long as he prophesies smooth things, and 
accommodates himself to the humour of his 
congregation, whatever that humour may 
be, just so long they will speak well of him ; 
but, let him put forth his hand, and touch 
their bone and their flesh, and they will curse 
him to his face.* 

1 Job ii. 5. 



What has been said is amply sufficient to 
prove, that the carnal mind is enmity with 
God. If any person still doubt it, let him but 
vigorously apply himself to those allowed 
duties which are most irksome to him, and 
he- will quickly find an argument in his own 
breast, infinitely stronger than any that 
have been here adduced. 

2. Closely connected with the bitter ani- 
mosity which the heart entertains against 
God (connected indeed with it in the way 
of cause and effect), is its extreme depravity. 
Theological writers have not unfrequently 

1 " Quid aliud in mundo quam pugna adversus diabolmn 
quotidie geritur ; quam adversus jacula ejus et tela cou- 
flictationibus assiduis dimicatur .' Cum avaritia nobis, cum 
impudicitia, cum ira, cum ambitione, congressio est : cum 
carnalibus vitiis, cum illecebris secularibus, assidua et 
molesta luctatio est. Obsessa metis hominis, et undique 
diaboli infestatione vallata, vix occurrit singulis, vix resis- 
tit. Si avaritia prostrata est, exsurgit libido : si libido 
compressa est, succedit ambitio : si ambitio contemta est, 
ira exasperat, inflat superbia, vinolentia invitat, invidia 
concordiam rumpit, .amicitiam zelus abscindit." Cjrprian. 
de Mortal. 



been accused of exaggeration in treating of 
the depravity in question : but the con- 
science of every one, whose understanding 
has been enlightened with self-knowledge, 
will readily acquit them of the charge, 
" Since the fall, the nature of man has been 
blind and corrupt: his understanding 
darkened, and his affections polluted. 
Upon the face of the whole earth there is 
no man, Jew or Gentile, that understand- 
eth and seeketh after God. The natural 
man, or man remaining in that state 
wherein the fall left him, is so far from 
being able to discover or know any reli* 
o;ious truth, that he hates and flies from it 

O ' 

when it is proposed to him : he receivcth 
not the things of the Spirit of God. Man 
is natural and earthly ; the things of God 
are spiritual and heavenly ; and these are 
contrary one to the other : therefore, as 
the wisdom of this world is foolishness with 
God, so the wisdom of God is foolishness 
with the world. In a word, the sense man 

C 



34 

is now possessed of, where God does not 
restrain it, is used for evil and not for 
good ; his wisdom is earthly, sensual, devi- 
lish : it is the sagacity of a brute, animated 
by the malignity of an evil spirit." 

3. Ill addition to its enmity against God 
and its utter depravity, the human heart is 
likewise in a state of insensibility and stupi- 
dity. The conscience, as the Apostle ex- 
presses it, is past feeling, seared as with a 
hot iron.'' Hence reproofs and judgments 
may irritate, but can never merely by their 
own influence convert. This insensibility, 
though it may be increased by a habit of 
sinning, is yet itself originally inherent in 
the conscience : at the first, it is not so 
much superinduced upon it, as it springs out 
of it. 

IV. Man being thus depraved in the un- 



' Jones's Cathol. Doctrine of the Trinity, p. 14. 
z Ephes. iv. 19. 1 Tim. iv. 2. 



35 

derstanding, the will, and the affections, it 
is almost superfluous to observe, that he 
must in consequence have lost all power of 
serving God. Unable to discover his will, 
hating it when it is discovered to him, and 
so polluted by sin that he is utterly unable 
to cleanse himself, how can he perform in 
his own strength any acceptable service ? 
He may indeed, in the pride of his high 
speculations, imagine himself to be rich, 
and to have need of' nothing ; but the word 
of God will inform him, that he is wretch- 
ed, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and 
naked. 1 Even those actions of the natural 
man, which bear the semblance of good ; 
the patriotism of a Regulus, and the mo- 
rality of a Socrates ; even they are but 
splendid sins :* for, as we are rightly taught 
by the Church, " Works, done before the 

1 Revel, iii. 1?. 

* See Bp. Beveridge's Exposition of the Articles. 
Art. xiii. 



36 

grace of Christ and the inspiration of his 
spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch 
as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ : 
yea rather, for that they are not done as 
God hath willed and commanded them to 
be done, we doubt not but they have the 
nature of sin."' The reason of this is ob- 
vious : a polluted heart can no more bring 
forth a good action, than a polluted foun- 
tain can emit pure water : but all our 
hearts are by nature impure : consequently 
all our actions before the reception of di- 
vine grace must be impure also, and as 
such cannot be pleasing unto God. 

In this miserable condition is every man 
born. Fallen from his high estate, and 
sunk in the deep sleep of presumptuous 
wickedness, he refuses to listen to the voice, 



1 Art. xiii. See also Bp. Hopkins's Works, p. 
ao(J Bp. Beveridge's Private Thoughts, Art. viii. 



37 

of any human charmer, charm he ever so 
wisely. God alone is able to create a clean 
heart, and to renew a right spirit within 
Mm ; for creation is an attribute belonging 
solely to the Deity. Man must be brought 
back to the image of his Maker, that image 
which was lost by the fall of Adam ; or he 
must for ever remain excluded from the 
kingdom of heaven. 

From the mercy-seat above 

Prevenient grace descending must remove 
The stony from his heart, and make new flesh 
Regenerate grow instead . 



CHAPTER II. 



The illumination of the understanding through the 
influence of the Holy Spirit, the Jirst work of 
grace in the human soul. 



WHEN the Almighty created man, he fore- 
saw all the fatal consequences which would 
result from his violation of the divine com- 
mandment. Though justice required the 
punishment of the transgressors, yet mercy 
provided a wonderful remedy, by virtue of 
which Adam and all his posterity might 
have the means of escaping eternal perdi- 
tion. The fulness of time being come, the 
only begotten of the Father; " God of 
God, Light of Light, very God of very 



39 

God ;" the Lamb virtually and typically 
slain from the foundation of the world ; 
this glorious personage took our nature 
upon him, and was made like unto us in all 
things, sin only excepted. After spending a 
life of unwearied benevolence and heavenly 
purity, honouring the Law more highly by 
his perfect observance of it than it was ever 
dishonoured by the transgressions of the 
whole race of man, our Lord closed his 
ministerial labours by offering himself up, 
a voluntary self-devoted sacrifice, for the 
sins of the world. The benefits of his death 
and passion extended as widely as the 
baneful effects of the fall had done ;' and 
we are repeatedly told by the inspired 
writers, that he suffered for the sins of all 
men. 1 None are excluded from being par- 
takers of these blessings. Every contrite 
sinner, every soul that wishes for salvation, 

1 1 Corin. xv. 22. 

a Heb. ii. 9- Coloss. i. 20. 1 Tim. ii. 4. 6. 



40 

is freely invited to approach to the throne 
of mercy, assured of a welcome reception 
through the all-sufficient merits of the Re- 
deemer. Ho, every one that thirsteih, come 
ye to the waters, and he that hath no money ; 
come ye, buy, and eat ; yea, come, buy milk 
and wine without money and without price I l 

But, although the redemption of mankind 
be thus unlimited and universal, and al- 
though God willeth not the death of any 
sinner, but rather that all should turn unto 
him and repent; yet, by reason of the 
obstinate folly of the wicked, the gra- 
cious purposes of the Almighty fail 
to produce universal salvation. All day 
long, saith the Lord, have I stretched forth 
my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying 
people* Enter ye in, saith our Saviour, at 
the strait gate ; for wide is the gate and 
broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, 

1 Isaiah lv. 1. * Rom. x. 21. 



41 

and many there be which go in thereat : be* 
cause strait is the gate and narrow is the way 
which kadeth unto life,, and Jew there be 
that find it. 1 Hence it is evident, that 
many unhappy persons, whom the god of 
this world hath blinded, will either ex- 
pressly reject, or carelessly neglect to avail 
themselves of, the benefits of Christ's death 
and passion. All those, who are infatuated 
with the pride of infidelity, and madly defy 
the living God, exclude themselves with a 

O ' 

high hand from the pale of the Church : 
and all those, who, like the devils, believe 
and tremble ; who acknowledge the divine 
authority of the Gospel, but are strangers 
to its influence ; who live, to use the em- 
phatic words of Scripture, without God in 
the world, dead in trespasses and sins ; all 
these, if there be any truth in the plain de- 
clarations of our Lord and his Apostles, 
have no lot nor portion in the Son of God. 

1 Matt, vii, is. 



42 

How happens it then, that some receive 
the wo r d with joy, and bring forth fruit 
meet for repentance ; while others either 
sullenly reject it, or remain alike uninflu- 
enced by its threats and its promises ? No 
man, saith our blessed Lord, can come unto 
me, except the Father, which hath sent me, 
draw him.' But in what manner doth the 
Father draw mankind unto himself, in* 
order that they may not perish, but re- 
ceive everlasting life? The Apostle informs 
us, that no man can say thai Jesus is the 
Lord, but by the Holy Ghost* 

It is therefore the peculiar office of the 
third person of the Trinity to bring us unto 
Christ, and to induce us to accept the par- 
don which is freely offered unto all. Here 
we see, that none can come unto Christ 
without being drawn by the gracious in- 
fluence of the Spirit. 

1 John vi. 44. * I Corin. xii. 3. 



But many resist that influence to their 
own destruction :. in a manner compelling 
God to declare, that his Spirit shall not 
alwfys strive with man ; l and forcing the 
merciful Saviour himself to complain, ye 
will not come unto me that ye may have life. 1 ' 
Here we learn the true reason, why so many 
perish in their sins : they will not accept 
*the salvation, which is offered to them in 
common with all mankind. God the Spirit 
draweth them indeed : but they obstinately 
refuse to follow him. 3 



1 Gen. vi. 3. 2 John v. 40. 

3 I have endeavoured to state this difficult point in that 
manner, which to myself, at least, appears the most agree- 
able to Scripture. With the Calviuistic view jf the sub- 
ject I am by no means satisfied : but the Pelagian view of 
it is yet more exceptionable. 

It is certain, that the free-will (that is, of course the 
moral, not the natural, free-will) \\hich Adam possessed 
in his state of. purity, was lust at the fall, when he and all 
his posterity became indued to evil ; hence, as we are 



instructed by ihe Church <mdilion of man after the 



A considerable degree of prudence and 
caution is necessary in treating of the ope- 



fall of Adam is such ; that he cannot turn and prepare 
himself by his own natural strength and good works to 
faith and calling upon God :" nevertheless it is no-where 
asserted in Scripture, that freedom of will is not equally 
restored unto all men by the preaching of the Gospel. 
Every expostulation of God with the wicked necessarily 
supposes, that he freely gives them an opportunity of re- 
pentance ; and that their eternal condemnation is the re- 
sult, not of an arbitrary decree, but of their deliberately 
choosing evil rather than good, and their obstinately re- 
fusing the assistance of the Holy Ghost, which is equally 
offered unto all men. 

I am aware, that in reply a Calvinist will argue ; " If 
all have free-will equally given to them by the Spirit, if 
all are equally drawn by the Father, all must equally 
eome unto Christ." 

This, however, by no means follows, as we may suffi- 
ciently learn from the fall of our first parent. Adam pos- 
sessed free will by nature ; and, without having the slight- 
est bias to evil, was strongly drawn or inclined by the 
Spirit of God to that which is good : yet Adam fell. Why 
then may not those, to whom the free-will lost by the 
transgression of Adam has been restored on the offer of 



rations of the Holy Ghost; and the two 
extremes of enthusiasm and profaneness 
should be equally avoided. 



pardon by the Gospel, fall likewise ? Persons, placed 
under such circumstances, and urged by the secret influ^ 
ence of the Holy Ghost to flee from the wrath to come, 
can scarcely be thought more highly favoured than Adam 
was previous to his transgression : it is not very easy there*- 
fore to say, why they may not abuse free-will when re* 
covered, just as much as Adam did when possessed of if 
ab origine ; and why they may not neglect to use imparted 
strength, just as much as Adam did the strength which he 
received at his creation. If Adam had been drawn to a 
due performance of his duty by an irresistible impulse of 
the Spirit, it is manifest that he never could have fallen : 
I am not aware that we are warranted by Scripture to sup- 
pose, that the Holy Ghost acts upon our wills in any dif- 
ferent manner from what he did upon Adam's. It is out 
thing to believe, that no man can come unto Christ unless 
he be drawn by the Father through the agency of the 
Spirit ; and quite another to maintain, that every person, 
who is thus drawn, must necessarily and inevitably obey 
that impulse. The denial of the first of these proposi^ 
tious constitutes the heresy of the Pelagians ; . the asserting 



46 

Persons of a sanguine temperament have 
not unfrequently been so far deluded by a 
mischievous fanaticism, as to mistake the 
workings of a heated imagination for the 
immediate dictates of heaven. Hence they 
have been sometimes led to undervalue 
even the sacred word of God, and to fancy 
that they are actually taught by inspiration 
without making any use of the means which 
the Almighty has been pleased to appoint. 
The consequence of such crude and un- 
scriptural notions is sufficiently evident : 
the unhappy victims of this fatal delusion 



of the second, the error of the Calvinists. Because Scrip- 
ture appeals to us as free and reasonable beings, the for- 
mer very rashly suppose, that we stand in no need of di- 
vine grace ; because Scripture declares, that of ourselves 
we can neither will nor do that which is good, the latter 
too hastily conclude, that the influence of the Spirit is 
absolutely irresistible. But L desist from pressing the 
matter any further : the object of the present treatise is 
not controversy. 



47 

fall from one absurdity into another, the 
sport of every wind of doctrine, and the 
pity of all sober-minded Christians. The 
error, to which I allude, consists in mis- 
taking the extraordinary for the ordinary 
operations of the Spirit. We are not in the 
present day to expect any new revelations : 
that point has been sufficiently decided by 
St. Paul. Though we or an angel from 
heaven, says he, preach any other Gospel 
unto you than that which we have preached 
unto youi let him be accursed* The office 
of the Holy Ghost is not to reveal any ad- 
ditional doctrines to us ; but to enable us to 
understand spiritualli/ those which have 
been already revealed. Accordingly, the 
Bereans are commended as being more no- 
ble than the Thessalonians, not only be- 
cause they readily received the word, but 
because they likewise searched the Scriptures 



Galat. i. 8. 



48 

daily whether those things were so. 1 God> 
Holy Spirit doubtless both prevented and 
Seconded their pious endeavours, illumina- 
ting their minds, and filling them with all 
heavenly wisdom ; for we are informed, 
that many of them believed : but at the 
same time it is signified to us, that the ex- 
ternal cause was their diligent attention to 
the Scriptures. 1 In a similar manner, al- 
though the Church directs her children to 
pray unto God for his inspiration,* it is 
only that they may be enabled to think 
those things that be good, and that their 
hearts may be cleansed from all impurity ; 
not that they may become prophets or 
apostles. Long has the extraordinary influ- 



* Acts xvii. 11. 

* " They searched the Scriptures daily, whether 

those things were so ; therefore many of them believed." 
Acts xvii. 11, 12. 

3 Collects for the 5th Sun. after East, and Communion 
Service. 



49 

ence of the Spirit ceased, and we are autho- 
rised by our blessed Lord himself to con- 
sider all pretensions to it in these latter days 
as the marks whereby we may assuredly 
detect impostors. 1 One of the main artifices 
of Satan is to propagate error by issuing, as 
it were, base counterfeits of those scriptural 
doctrines which have received the stamp of 
God's own authority. As he persuades 
some to sin in order that grace may abound, 
miscalling the impure speculations of Anti- 
uom\a.msm justification by faith; so he be- 
wilders others in the mazes of enthusiasm, 
puffing them up with vain conceits, and 
distracting the peace of the Church, under 
the pretence that the wild reveries of a mad 
fanatic are the immediate inspiration of 
heaven. 



1 Malt. xxiv. 11. 23, 24, 2.3, 26. 

D 



50 

Persons of an opposite description to 
those, whose imagination outruns their 
judgment, terrified and disgusted with the 
perversion of the scriptural doctrine of 
divine influence, have too hastily plunged 
into the other extreme ; and, though per- 
haps they may not absolutely have denied 
the existence of the Holy Ghost, yet they 
scarcely allow him any share in the great 
work of our conversion. Our Lord indeed 
compares the operations of the spirit to the 
wind, and we can no more discern the one 
than the other: nevertheless, if we have 
received the Holy Ghost, our souls must 
be as sensible of his influence by its benefi- 
cial effects, as our bodies are of the impulse 
of the air when in motion. Unless this be 
allowed, it is not very easy to say what we 
are to understand by such a comparison. 
When a total change takes place in a man's 
soul, a change so great that it is called in 
Scripture a passage from darkness into light, 



from extinction to animation* it is utterly 
impossible that it should not be perceived.* 
This change consists in an illumination of 
the understanding, a restoration of the free- 



1 1 John ii. 8. Ephes. i. 18. Ibid. ii. 1.5. 

* " There must be a revolution of principle : the visible 
conduct will follow the change : but there must be a re- 
volution within. A change so entire, so deep, so impor- 
tant, as this, I do allow to be a conversion ; and no one, 
who is in the situation above described, can be saved 
\vithout undergoing it ; and he must necessarily both be 
sensible of it at the time, and remember it all his life af- 
terwards. It is too momentous an event ever to be forgot. 
A man might as easily forget his escape from a shipwreck. 
Whether it was sudden, or whether it was gradual, if it 
was effected (and the fruits of it will prove that), it was a 
true conversion : and every such person may justly both 
believe and say it himself, that he was converted at a par- 
ticular assignable time. It may not be necessary to speak 
of his conversion, but he will always think of it with un- 
bounded thankfulness to the giver of all grace." Paley's 
Sermons, Serm. vii. 



52 

dom of the will, and a regulation oj the af- 
fections. 

The first thing necessary towards our be- 
coming children of God is the illumination 
of the understanding. The Holy Ghost 
must shine into the dark recesses of our 
hearts and grant us a spiritual discernment, 
or the word of God will for ever remain a 
sealed book. We may indeed comprehend 
the literal and grammatical construction of 
the sentences, but we shall derive no more 
saving knowledge from it than the Jews 
did from the law when they crucified 
the Lord of life. The mere exertions of 
unassisted reason can never convey to our 
minds any knowledge of the things of God, 
because they must be spiritually discerned. 
Much has already been said upon this sub- 
ject, when the spiritual deficiency of our 
understandings was considered. We all 
know that they are not defective in com- 



53 

prehending the bare letter of Scripture any 
more than that of Homer or Virgil : in 

O ' 

what then are they defective, unless it be 
in spiritual discernment ? This will alone 
account for the language of St. Paul, when 
he assures the Ephesians, that he ceases 
not to offer up his prayers, that the God of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, 
might give unto them the Spirit of wisdom 
and revelation in the knowledge of him ; the 
eyes of their understanding being enlighten- 
ed ; that they might know what is the hope 
of his calling, and what the riches of the 
glory of his inheritance in the saints, and 
what is the exceeding greatness of his power 
to US-ward who believe, according to the 
working of his mighty power. 1 The Ephe- 



1 In this passage, according to the usual manner of the 
sacred writers, spiritual things are exhibited to our com- 
prehension by their corresponding natural objects; and 



54 

sians doubtless possessed the faculty of 
common discernment; and yet the same 
Apostle prays that they might be able to 
comprehend with all saints what is the breadth 
and length, and depth and height ; and to 
know the love of Christ which passeth know- 
ledge, that they might bejilled i&ith the ful- 
ness of God. 1 Hence it appears that the 
Ephesians might read the Scripture without 
that comprehension of it, which the Apos- 
tle prays for on their behalf.* 



the illumination of the Holy Spirit is compared to opening 
the eyes of the blind. 
1 Ephes. iii. 18. 



ow ya 

<ryvo7rra oue (ruvvojjra Tracriv strriv, s p,Y) TCO &so$ cv <ruviev< 
x< 6 XgKTTog aurou. Just. Mart. Dial, cum Tryph. p. 173. 
" The first creature of God in the works of the days, 
was the light of the sense ; the last was the light of reason; 
and his sabbath work ever since is the illumination of his 
spirit. First he breathed light upon the face of the matter 



55 

From these remarks it is sufficiently evi- 
dent, that, although Christ died for the 



of chaos ; then he breathed light upon the face of man ; 
and still breaketh and inspireth light into the face of his 
chosen." Lord Bacon's Essay on Truth. 

" Absurd is the doctrine of the Socinians and some 
others, that unregenerate men, by a mere natural percep- 
tion, without any divine superinfused light (they are the 
words of Episcopius, and they are wicked words) may 
understand the ivhole law, even all things requisite unto 
faith and godliness ; foolishly confounding and impiously 
deriding the spiritual and divine sense of the Holy Scrip- 
tures with the grammatical construction. Against this we 
shall need use no other argument than a plain syllogism 
compounded out of the words of Scripture : Darkness 
doth not comprehend light (John i. 5.) ; Unregenerate 
men are darkness (Ephes. v. 8. iv. 17, 18. Acts xxvi. 18. 
'2 Pet. i. 9-)> y ea > ne ld under the power of darkness (Col. 
i. 13.); and The word of God is light (Psalm cxix. 105. 
2 Cor. iv. 4.) therefore unregenerate men cannot under- 
stand the zcord in that spiritual compass which it carries. 
Natural men have their principles vitiated, their facul- 
ties bound, that they cannot understand spiritual things, 



56 

sins of the whole world, yet none will ever 
truly acknowledge him as their Lord ex- 
cept by the influence and operation of the 
blessed Spirit. Before he opens their eyes 



till God have, as it were, implanted a new understanding 
in them, framed the heart to attend, and set it at liberty to 
see the glory of God with open face. Though the veil do 
not keep out grammatical construction, jet it blindeth the 
heart against the spiritual light and beauty of the word." 
Bishop Reynolds's Works, p. 44. 

" Spiritus Paracletus ilium longe docet rnelius, quam 
universi libri ; ut absolutius intelligat scripturam, quam 
cxplanari illi queat," Luther. Enarrat. Fol. 275. A. 

" Secundus gradus est donatio spiritus sancti, qui novam 
lucem in inente, et novos motus in voluntate et corde, 
accendit; gubernat nos ; et inchoat in nobis vitam aeter- 
nam." Melanc. Loc. Theol. p. 731. See also King 
Edward's Catechism in Bp. Randolph's Enchiridion, vol. 
i. p. 41. Noel's Catechism, Ibid. vol. ii. p. 132. Bp. 
Beveridge's Private Thoughts^ Art. viii. Bp. Wilkins on 
Prayer, chap. xvii. Bp. Reynolds's Works, p. 305. 463. 
Dr. Barrow's Works, vol. iii. p. 529, 530, 531. 
Jones's Essay on Man, chap, iii, 



57 

to see wonderful things out of God's Law, 
they are as totally devoid of all spiritual 
understanding, as a blind man is of the 
faculty of discerning material objects. 
These objects exist indeed ; but, from the 
deficiency of his organs of vision, they are 
unable to make any impression upon hi.s 
mind. 

Hence, as I have already observed, the 
first step, which the Holy Spirit takes in 
the conversion of a sinner, is to open the 
e3 r es of his understanding. 1 While men 
remain in a state of carnal security, the 
sound of God's word passes by them as 



1 t( The first work, which God puts forth upon th 
soul, in order to its conversion, is, to raise up a spiritual 
light within it, to clear up its apprehensions about spiritual 
matters, so as to enable the soul to look upon God as the 
chiefest good, and the enjoyment of him as the greatest 
bliss." Bp. Beveridge's Private Thoughts, Art. viii. 



58 

little regarded as the wind. They hav.e no 
conception of the spirituality of the Law 
nor of the purity of God. Provided only a 
decent exterior be preserved and the penal 
statutes of the land be un violated, they 
imagine that all is perfectly safe, and that 
it would be equally absurd and uncharita- 
ble to doubt of the certainty of their salva- 
tion. In the mean time they forget that 
God is a searcher of the heart, that he re- 
quires truth in the inward parts, and that 
he is of purer eyes than to behold the least 
iniquity. Their boasted morality is for the 
most part merely negative : it is rather an 
absence of the overt acts of sin, than a 
presence of real holiness. Though they 
duly make a weekly acknowledgment of 
their sinfulness in strict conformit}' with the 
liturgy of the Church ; yet they repeat the 
confession rather as words of course, than 
as feeling the truth of it from bitter expe- 
rience : and, though they punctually re- 



59 

ceive the sacrament " at the least three 
times in the year," and avow that " the 
remembrance of their misdoings is grievous 
unto them and the burden of them intolera- 
ble ; " jet, notwithstanding the strength of 
the language which they adopt, it is much 
to be questioned whether they be really 
sensible of the vast weight of sin. If pres- 
sed closely upon this subject, they invaria- 
bly deny that depth of corruption, that 
mystery of iniquity, by which every facul- 
ty of the human soul, every thought and 
word and deed of the very best man upon 
earth, is more or less polluted and unclean. 
They will probably acknowledge venial 
errors, pardonable frailties, and trifling lap- 
ses ; but the doctrine, that man is very far 
gone from original righteousness, that of 
his own nature he is inclined to evil, that 
he deserveth God's wrath and damnation, 
and that he is by nature a child of wrath, is 



60 

rejected by them with all the angry feelings 
of a proud indignation. 1 



1 It is no uncommon thing in the present day to hear 
various orthodox doctrines stigmatized as being Cakinis- 
tic, when in truth they are no more peculiar to Calvinism 
than to any other doctrinal system. Such has been the 
fate of the tenet of original sin. They, who deny it, 
find it much more convenient to term those, who maintain 
it, Cafoinists, than to abide by the plain and explicit de- 
cision of the Church in her 9th Article. All Calvinists do 
indeed hold it ; but it does not therefore follow, that all, 
who hold it, are Calvinists, any more than that all Trini- 
tarians are Papists. " Our Articles," says Bishop Hors- 
ley, " affirm certain things, which we hold in common 
with the Calvinists : so they affirm certain things, which 
we hold in common with the Lutherans ; and some things, 
which we hold in common with the Romanists. It can- 
not well be otherwise ; for, as there are certain principles 
which are common to all Protestants, so the essential ar- 
ticles of faith are common to all Christians." Horsley's 
Tracts, p. 398. Since this was written, his Lordship has 
very judiciously advised those, who are eager to signalize 
their prowess against the doctrinal system of the Genevan 
reformer, first to learn what Calvinism is exclusively ; lest 



61 

From this utter ignorance of their own 
corruption, they will usually be found 
strongly inclined to the dangerous delusion 
of self-justification. Their notion is, that 
although they be frail creatures, yet they 
humbly trust they are not quite so bad as 
some persons would represent them. They 
doubt not, but that their works will justify 
them as far as they go ; that the merits of 
the Redeemer will make up all deficiencies; 
and that the infinite mercy of God will 
throw a veil over their casual imperfections. 
Upon the whole, they are inclined to hope 
that their good deeds far outweigh their 
occasional errors ; and, to use the language 
of the poet, that they are men " more 



haply, instead of assailing certain adventurous peculiari- 
ties, they direct their attacks against uur common Christia- 
nity itself. 

Ne, pueri, ne tanta animis assuescite bella : 
Neu pat rite validas in viscera vertit* vires. 



sinned against than sinning : " at any rate, 
that their hearty repentance, and the 
pains and troubles which they encounter 
here, will make ample atonement for all 
their transgressions. Thus, while they ac- 
knowledge in words the necessity of a Sa- 
viour, they in reality depend much more 
upon their own imaginary righteousness 
than upon the merits of Christ. 

The whole of this arises from spiritual 
blindness ; for, if they really understood 
the purport of the Law, they would never 
dream that their own miserable performan- 
ces could either partially or universally wien'f 
the favour of God. Like the infatuated 
Jews in the days of our Lord, they have 
the Scriptures in their hands, and perhaps 
occasionally peruse them ; but they are 
totally unconscious that they are reading 
their own condemnation. They slumber 
over the sacred page, and perceive not that 



63 

their curse is there recorded. Cursed is 
every one, that abideth not in all the things 
of this Law. Their eyes are closed, so that 
they are unable to perceive their numerous 
violations of it, in thought, word, and deed. 
Hence the Law is to them a dead letter ; 
and they remain in a state of utter igno- 
rance of its spiritual design. 

" We and our whole nature," says the 
illustrious Luther, " are entirely blind ; 
nor is our reason more ignorant of any thing, 
than of the requisitions of God's Law. 
Christ conferred a double benefit upon the 
Scribes and Pharisees : he first took away 
their blindness, by showing them what the 
Law is ; and afterwards taught them, how 
far the perfect observance of it exceeds 
their abilities. He took away their blind- 
ness by informing them that the Law is 
love ; which doctrine bare reason is equally 
incapable of receiving at present, as the 



64 

Jews were formerly. For, if reason could 
have comprehended it, the Pharisees and 
the Lawyers, who at that time were the 
best and wisest among the people, would 
doubtless have comprehended it. But 
they imagined drat the whole matter con- 
sisted in performing the external works of 
the Law ; and that it was of little moment, 
whether they were done voluntarily or invo- 
luntarily. Meanwhile their internal blind- 
ness, their avarice, and their darkened 
heart, passed without observation ; and 
they fancied that they were accurately dis- 
charging their duty. But no one is able 
to keep the Law, unless he be totally re- 
newed. Be assured therefore of this, that 
mere reason can never either understand or 
fulfil the Law, even though it may be ac- 
quainted with what the Law contains. 
When do you do unto others, as you would 
they should do unto you ? Who ever hear- 
tily loved his enemy ? Who ever died volun- 



65 

tarily? Who will undergo with readiness, 
contumely and disgrace? Produce me only 
a single man, who willingly submits to the 
ignominy of a blasted character, or to the 
inconveniences of poverty. Nature and 
human reason abhor and shun such trials ; 
and will always, if possible, avoid them. 
Nor will human nature ever fulfil those 
things, which God requires in the Law ; 
namely, that we should make a voluntary 
surrender of our will to his will; that we 
should renounce our intellect, our inclina- 
tions, faculties, and our powers, so com- 
pletely, as to be able to say, with a hearty 
assent, Thy will be done. So far from this, 
you will never find a man, who loves God and 
his neighbour equally with himself. It is 
mere hypocrisy to say, I do love God , he is 
my Father. So long indeed as he refrains 
from crossing our inclinations, we can 
readily use such language ; but, in the 
dav of trouble and calamitv, we neither 

*r / j 

E 



66 

regard him as God nor as our Father. 
Widely different from these are the senti- 
ments of him who sincerely loves God. I 
am thy creature, Lord, do with me as it 
seemeth best to thy good pleasure. If it 
please thee, that I should die this very hour, 
or be plunged into the midst of evils, I 
cheerfully submit. My life, my reputation, 
my property, my all, I hold as nothing, when 
placed in competition with thy will. But 
what mortal man can you find, who will 
always hold such language as this with sin- 
cerity? The Law requires that nothing 
should be even disagreeable to you, which 
is agreeable to God ; that you should 
willingly observe all his precepts and all his 
prohibitions, throughout the whole of your 
life and conversation. But there exists not 
the man who stands uncondemned for his 
breach of that Law, which God requires to be 
observed. Such is the trouble and affliction, 
in which we are involved ; nor are we in 
the least able to extricate ourselves. This 



67 

then is the first knowledge of the Law ; to 
know that it is impossible for human 
strength to observe it. God requires the 
heart ; and, unless our works be done from 
the heart, they are of no value in his sight. 
Works indeed you may do in outward 
appearance ; but God is not satisfied with 
them, unless they spring from the soul and 
from love : which can never be the case, 
unless a man be born again of the spirit. 
Wherefore the end of the Law is to bring 
us to acknowledge our infirmity, insomuch 
that of ourselves we are not able to perform 
even the letter of the Law. As soon as you 
are convinced of this, the Law has done its 
duty. Hence St. Paul asserts that " by the 
Law is the knowledge of sin" 1 

Let persons of the class which I have 
been describing try their hearts, with fide- 

1 Luther. Enarrat. Fol. 335. C. 



68 

lity and sincerity, by this admirable pas- 
sage. Let them see, whether they love 
God as they ought to do; whether they 
keep his statutes and his ordinances in the 
manner which he has prescribed ; whether 
they find their whole souls so totally devot- 
ed to his service, as to exclude every vain 
thought and every foolish wish ; whether 
their life be spent in an unceasing round of 
duties, both- negative and positive. All 
this is required by the Law without any mi- 
tigation and abatement. Hence, to those, 

o 

who seek to be justified by their works, it is 
the savour of death unto death : 'for they, 
who would be justified by the Law, must 
keep the Law. Hence also it is absolutely 
necessary, that the Holy Spirit should open 
the eyes of their understanding, in order that 
they may discern the purity of the Law and 
the extent of their danger. Till his gracious 
influences pervade their hearts, every spiri- 
tual sense is benumbed by ignorance and 



69 

steeped in error. They see not the corrup- 
tion, which is the inheritance of all the 
children of Adam ; even the word of God 
cannot persuade them of the reality of its 
existence. All, who attempt to convince 
them of it, are considered only in the light 
of gloomy hypochondriacs, ever brooding 
over imaginary evils. Their words appear 
to them as idle tales, which they cannot 
comprehend and will not believe. Scrip- 
ture alone can account for so singular a 
difference between these two classes of 
men. The one is possessed of a sense, of 
which the other is destitute. , The, natural 
man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of 
God ; for they are foolishness unto him : 
neither can he know them, because they are 
spiritually discerned. 1 This spiritual dis- 
cernment is the special gift of the Holy 
Ghost. It is he, who causes the proud 



' 1 Corinth ii. 14, 



sinner to see clearly the requisitions of the 
Law, and his own utter inability to per- 
form them. It is he, who destroys that 
comfortable self-sufficiency, that hollow se- 
curity, in which the soul had long reposed ; 
and who, armed with all the thunders of 
Sinai, rouses the sleeping conscience, and 
arrests the unwilling attention. At the 
bar of such a judge every plea is rejected, 
and the stubborn reluctant sinner is com- 
pelled to plead guilty. He will now tho- 
roughly comprehend the meaning of St. 
Paul's confession : I had not known sin? 
but by the Law : for I had not known lust, 
except the Law had said, Thou shalt not covet. 
But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, 
wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. 
For without the Law sin was dead. For I 
was alive without the Law once : but, when 
the commandment came, sin revived, and I 
died. And the commandment, which was 
ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 



71 

For sin, faking occasion by the commandment, 
deceived me ; and by it slew me. therefore 
the Law is holy ; and the commandment holy 
and just and good. Was then that which is 
good made death unto me ? God forbid. 
But sin, that it might appear sin, working 
death in me by that which is good ; that sin 
by the commandment might become exceeding 
sinful. For we know that the law is spiri- 
tual ; but I am carnal, sold under sin* 

So long as St. Paul remained in his un- 
converted state, he was totally unconscious 
of the spirituality of the Law, and per- 
ceived not that it contained the sentence of 
his condemnation. While he was thusplaced 
without the real Law, he seemed to himself 
alive ; and entertained not the slightest 
doubt of his having merited salvation, 
being, as he elsewhere expresses himself, 
touching the righteousness which is in the 

1 Row. tii. 7. 



72 

Law, blameless. 1 But, as soon as the Holy 
Spirit opened his eyes, and when the com- 
mandment came, attended with a clear con- 
viction of his numerous breaches of it, and 
his utter inability to keep it; sin revived, 
and he evidently saw that he lay under 
sentence of death. He was compelled 
indeed to acknowledge the Law to be holy, 
and just, and good ; but this very excellence 
served only to increase his condemnation. 
Though the commandment was ordained / 
life, he found it to be unto death ; a conse- 
quence which arose, not from the imperfec- 
tion of the Law, but from the depravity of 
his own nature. The Holy Ghost having 
enabled him to see the spirituality of the 
Law, he then for the first time perceived 
that he was carnal, sold under sin. And 
so deep was the impression which this con- 
viction made upon his mind, that it forced 
him to exclaim in a kind of agony : 

' Phil. ih. S. 



73 

wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver 
me from the body of this death ? He was 
now brought into a proper frame of mind 
to receive the Gospel of Christ. He saw 
his o\vn manifold corruptions and the 
extreme sinfulness of his sin ; he perceived 
that he was unable of himself to help 
himself, and that his very best deeds could 
not stand the scrutiny of him. who 
chargeth even his angels with folly. This 
conviction forced him to look unto Christ 
for salvation, and to submit himself to the 
righteousness of God. The Gospel was 
now to him a savour of life unto life ; he 
renounced all dependence on his own 
goodness, and humbly thanked God for 
the pardon held out to him through Jesus 
Christ our Lord. 

Such were the varying emotions of St. 
Paul's heart, while the great work of illu- 
mination was going on within him ; and 



74 

such (for human nature is the same in 
all ages,) must be the convictions of every 
one, whom the Holy Spirit condescends to 
instruct. We are not indeed to imagine 
that the sincerity of a man's conversion is 
to be estimated by the strength of his 
feelings. The converted profligate will 
naturally be more deeply sensible of those 
stings, which a consciousness of the violat- 
ed Law inflicts upon the soul, than the 
decent moral man, who begins to suspect 
the safety of relying upon his own righ- 
teousness : and the warmer a man's natural 
feelings are, the stronger will be his terror 
when labouring under a sense of guilt ; for 
Christianity does not so much eradicate the 
passions, as enlist them into her service. 
But men of all temperaments mm>t be 
thoroughly convinced of their own exceed- 
ing vileness, whatever their feelings may be 
upon the occasion, or their understandings 
will never be sufficiently enlightened to 



75 

perceive the necessity of a mediator. They 
may indeed, previous to this conviction, 
acknowledge the want of a Saviour with 
their lips, and own in general terms that their 
lives are not perfectly free from sin : but, 
with respect to the hopes which they 
entertain of their salvation, they will ever 
be found to place their principal depen- 
dence on the blamelessness of their lives, 
their benevolence towards their fellow-crea- 
tures, and (in their more thoughtful hours) 
on some vague notions of God's mercy. 

Observe the workings of a really 
humbled mind in the confession of Bp. 
Beveridge. " If," says he, " there be not a 
bitter root in my heart, whence proceeds so 
much bitter fruit in my life and conversa- 
tion ? Alas ! I can neither set my head 
nor heart about any thing, but I still shqw 
myself to be the sinful offspring of sinful 
parents, by being the sinful, parent of a sin- 
ful offspring. Nay, I do not only betray 



76 

the inbred venom of my heart, by poison- 
ing my common actions, but even my most 
religious performances also, with sin. I 
cannot pra}% but I sin ; J cannot hear or 
preach a sermon, but I sin ; I cannot give 
an alms, or receive the sacrament, but I 
sin ; nay, I cannot so much as confess my 
sins, but my very confessions are still 
aggravations of them; my repentance 
needs to be repented of, my tears want 
washing, and the very washing of my tears 
needs still to be washed over again with the 
blood of my Redeemer. Thus, not only 
the worst of my sins, but even the best of 
my duties, speak me a child of Adam : 
Insomuch, that whensoever I reflect upon 
my past actions, methinks I cannot but 
look upon my whole life, from the time of 
my conception to this very moment, to be 
but as one continued act of sin/' 1 

' F ' Thoughts, Art. iv. 



77 

When a person is once brought into this 
state of mind, he will then, and not till 
then, begin to think seriously of another 
world. He will perceive himself to be a 
miserable, helpless, undone sinner, justly 
obnoxious to the wrath of God. Instead 
of attempting to excuse and palliate his 
depravity, he will anticipate the sentence of 
his judge, and be the first to pronounce 
condemnation upon himself. He will see 
the impossibility of cleansing his impurity, 
and the vanity of expecting to purchase 
salvation by any inherent righteousness of 
his own. It costs more to redeem his soul, 
so that he must let that alone for ever. 
When he considers his past life, he will be 
astonished at his former ignorance and in- 
sensibility. He will seem to himself like 
one roused from a deep sleep, in which 
every faculty of his soul had been com- 
pletely locked up ; but he will awake only 
to perceive himself destitute, bare, and 
miserable. 



78 

-So rose the Danite strong, 



Herculean Sampson from the harlot lap 
Of Philistean Dalilah, and wak'd, 
Shorn of his strength ' 

He will now, with the astonished jailor, 
be ready to cry out, What shall I do to be 
saved ? Driven from every strong-hold of 
vanity and presumption, he will leave the 
absurdly proud notion of self-justification 
to the blind Socinian and arrogant Pelagi- 
an. However he may once have indulged 
in the fantastic airy dream of his own ex- 
cellence and dignity, he will now clearly 
perceive, that there is no hope, no com- 
fort, no solid expectation of future happi- 
ness, but in the name and through the 
merits of Jesus Christ. 



CHAP. III. 



A description of two different Classes of Men, zvhose 
understandings are enlightened, while their hearts re- 
main unaffected. 



JL wo very different classes of men fre- 
quently attain to a considerable, I had al- 
most said an equal, degree of spiritual 
knowledge with respect to the sinfulness of 
sin and the requisitions of the divine Law. 
They are both deeply convinced of the de- 
pravity of the human heart. They are 
both conscious of their manifold aberra- 
tions and deficiencies in practice. They 



80 

both feel the load of their iniquity to be 
grievous and intolerable. Neither of these 
classes attempts to justify itself. Each is 
forced by conscience to cry out Unclean^ 
unclean. Each is secretly constrained to 
acknowledge the righteousness of God. 
Thus far the parallel holds good between 
them, but here it terminates ; and a strik- 
ing difference commences, which will best 
be discerned by a separate delineation of 
the character of each. 

I. The anguish, which persons of the first 
description feel, arises merely from a con- 
sciousness of guilt and from a dread of 
threatened punishment. In their case 
there is no spiritual loathing of the black- 
ness of sin, no horror of it springing from 
the knowledge of its hatefulness to God, 
no indignation, no vehement desire, no zeal, 
no revenge* The tempest in their hearts 

' 8 Cor. vii. 11. 



81 

is conjured up solely by terror, unmixed 
terror. They feel nothing of filial sorrow 
at having offended their heavenly Father ; 
they feel no compunction at having count- 
ed the blood of atonement an unholy 
thing ; they feel no grief, at having resisted 
the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit. 
Sin still reigns triumphant in their hearts; 
and they inwardly abhor that Law, which 
strikes at the very existence of their idol. 
Were all fears of future punishment remov- 
ed, and were they assured beyond a possi- 
bility of doubt, that mere annihilation 
would hereafter be their portion ; these 
joyful tidings would wipe away all tears 
from their eyes, and remove every uneasy 
thought from their heart. Let us eat and 
drink, for to-morrow we die. They would 
return with avidity to their former vicious 
indulgences, regardless, whether their con- 
duct was pleasing or displeasing to the Most 

F 



High. It is not -sin that they hate, but the 
rvages of si?i ', it is not God that they 
love, but their own safety. 

In vain is the wonderful goodness and 
long suffering of the Lord held up before 
the eyes of their understanding. The 
numberless blessings which they enjoy, the 
numberless evils from which they are ex- 
empt, the patience with which God has 
endured their perverseness, the opportuni- 
ties which he has given them of repent- 
ance, the tender loving kindness witfy 
which he condescendingly solicits (as it 
were) a reconciliation with them ; like 
Gallic, they care for none of these things. 
In vain for them doth the whole creation 
proclaim the beneficence of the great 
Creator. In vain for them doth he cause 
the sun to shine, and the seasons to revolve 
in grateful vicissitude. In vain for then? 



83 



doth he, by the powerful machinery of 
nature, send the springs into the rivers, 
which run among the hills. IB vain for 
them, by the united operation of various 
causes, doth he bring food out of the earth, 
and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, 
and oil to make him a cheerful countenance, 
and bread to strengthen man's heart* 
They will riot in these blessings even to 
satiety ; the harp and the viol, the tabret and 
pipe, are in their feasts : but they regard 
not the work of the Lord, neither consider 
the operation of his hands. 2 ' 

The mysterious act of mercy displayed 
in man's redemption may be described to 
them, but it excites no feeling of gratitude 
in their souls. The blameless life, the 
wonderful love, the bitter sufferings, and 

' Psalm civ. 10. * Isaiah v. 12, 



84 




,..,*rin(T t]f>xi\i nf thp ,^< 



the lingering; death, of the Son of God arc 

O O ' 

acknowledged in words indeed, but fail to 
touch their hearts. Though salvation be 
freely offered to them, though the mild 
voice of the Redeemer calls upon all who 
thirst to drink of the water of everlasting 
life ; they angrily dash the proffered cup 
from their lips, and hate that mode of sal- 
ration which requires the dereliction of sin. 
In short, their understandings are convinc- 
ed, 'but their hearts remain untouched. 
They see the danger of sin, but they love it 
and cleave to it ; they perceive the neces- 
sity of a life of holiness, but they detest 
and abhor it. Like the devils, they believe 
and tremble; but, like them also, they 
fight indignantly against the Lord and 
against his Christ. Even the ox knoweth 
his owner, and the ass his masters crib : but 
they are dead to every sense of gratitude ; 
they consider God in the light of a tyrant, 



85 

who seeks to deprive them of their dearest 
enjoyments. 

" The power of the word/' says Bp. 
Reynolds, " towards wicked men is seen in 
affrighting of them ; there is a spirit of 

O O 1 

bondage, and a savour of death, as well as a 
spirit of life and liberty, which goeth along 
with the word. Guilt is an inseparable con- 
sequent of sin ; and fear, of the manifesta- 
tion of guilt. If the heart be once convinced 
of this, it will presently faint, and tremble, 
even at the shaking of a leaf, at the wag- 
ging of a man's own conscience ; how 
much more at the voice of the Lord, which 
shaketh mountains and maketh the strong 
foundations of the earth to tremble ? It is 
not for want of strength in the word, or 
because there is stoutness in the hearts of 
men to stand out against it, that all the 
wicked of the world do not tremble at it, 
but merely their ignorance of the power 



86 

and evidence thereof. The devils are 
stronger and more stubborn creatures 
than any man caii be ; yet, because of 
their full illumination and that invincible 
conviction of their consciences from the 
power o the word, they believe and trem- 
ble at it. The power of the ingrafted 
word towards wicked men is seen even in 
the rage and madness which it excites in 
them. It is a sign, that a man hath to do 
with a strong enemy, when he buckleth on 
all his harness, and calleth together all his 
strength for opposition. The most calm 
and devout hypocrites in the world have by 
the power of this word been put out of 
their demure temper, and mightily trans- 
ported with outrage and bitterness against 
the majesty thereof: one time filled with 
wrath ; another time filled with madness ; 
another time filled with envy and indigna- 
tion; another time filled with contradic-t 



87 

tiou and blasphemy ; another time cut to 
the heart, and, like reprobates in hell, 
o-nashino; with their teeth. Such a search- 

O O 

ing power and such an extreme contrarie- 
ty there is in the Gospel to the- lusts of 
men, that if it do not subdue, it will won- 
derfully swell them up, till it distemper 
even the grave prudent men of the world 
with those brutish and uncomely affections 
of rage and fury, and drive disputers from 
their arguments unto stones. Sin cannot 
endure to be disquieted, much less to be 
shut in and encompassed with the curses of 
God's word. Therefore, as a hunted beast, 

in an extremity of distress, will turn back, 

\ 

and put to its utmost strength to be 
revenged on the pursuers and to save its 
life : so wicked men, to save their lusts, 
will let out all their rage, and open all their 
sluices of pride and malice to withstand 
that holy truth, which doth so closely pur- 



88 

sue them. 1 Till men can be persuaded to 
lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of 
naughtiness, they will never receive the in- 
grafFed word with meekness. For till then 
it is a binding word, which sealeth their 
guilt and condemnation upon them/' " 

Perhaps no state of mind is more deplo- 
rable than that in which an enlightened 
understanding is united to an unconverted 
heart. 1 1 is a state totally devoid of peace 
and comfort, full of terror and a fearful 
looking out-for of judgment and fiery 
indignation. The e} T es of the mind are 
opened, so as to discern clearly that he is 



1 To /xey xaTayeXacrflrjva^ jcrcoj ouSsv -^gay^a' A^r/vono^ yap 
TOI, coj eju-oi Soxet, ou cr<po5ga //-eXst, civ TV Sejvov OIOJVTCU 

iS(rxaXxov rrjg O.VTOV cro<paj' 6v 8* ctv x 
Troiejy TCJOOTOUJ, 5u/x,owvT. Plat. Euthyphron. 3. 

* Bp. Reynolds's Works, pp. 365, 366, 36?. 



89 

not a Christian who is one outwardly. 
The awakened conscience is trembling!/ 
alive to every touch. It perceives the ne- 
cessity of repentance ; and it acknowledges 
the obligation laid upon all true believers 
to take up their cross and follow Christ. 
But the will and the affections are wanting ; 
a secret hatred and reluctance reigns in. 
the heart ; and the whole man loathes the 
burden which he conceives to be imposed 
upon him. Meanwhile a person of ,-this 
description is deeply convinced, that, with 
his present temper and disposition, it is 
utterly impossible for him to enter into the 
kingdom of heaven. He knows that he 
labours under a natural unfitness for it, and 
that he could find no happiness even in the 
presence of God himself, unless a complete 
change should previously take place in his 
heart. This awful truth is evident, beyond 
a possibility of contradiction, to the man 



90 

whose understanding has been so far en- 
lightened as to comprehend the requisitions 
of the Law and the nature of holiness ; 
but, his heart being at the same time totally 
unaffected and unaltered, he cannot con- 
ceive what pleasure there can be in a 
perpetual communion with God and in the 
purely spiritual joys of lieaven. Hence 
arises his misery : he knows that he is un- 
fit for heaven, and he shudders at the 
thoughts of hell. Gladly would he escape 
into some middle place of abode, were any 
such in existence, equally undisturbed by 
the presence of God and the torments of the 
damned. His future destiny perpetually 
haunts his imagination : and he flies from 
himself to seek relief in the midst of com- 
pany and dissipation. For a time, he proba- 
bly succeeds : for a time, he contrives to 
silence his conscience. The ever-varying 
pageant of vain amusements gradually 



9t 

banishes the recollection of those deep 
impressions which he had formerly receiv- 
ed ; and he once more feels something at 
least of the pleasures of this world. But, 
if ever the strings of conscience happen to 
be again touched, he relapses into all his 
former misery ; a misery, moreover, now too 
frequently mixed with a sort of hellish rage 
and malice against his monitor. Perhaps 
the Gospel is never sincerely explained 
and enforced, without either effecting a 
change in the heart, or exciting a spirit of 
bitter animosity and determined opposition. 
Men cannot bear to have their false 
tranquillity broken in upon ; they cannot 
bear to have the truth faithfully set before 
them ; they cannot bear to have the carnal 
security of their sinful pleasures disturbed. 
Provided these points be not touched upon, 
they will listen with the utmost compla- 
cency to an eulogy on the beauty of 



92 

virtue and the dignity of human nature ; 
but, the moment they are compelled to 
look within themselves, their patience fails 
them, and they are sometimes altogether 
unable even to conceal their indignation. 

II. The second class, which I purposed 
to describe, is composed of persons of a 
character radically different from that of 
the former. These see their duty to its full 
extent ; they thoroughly comprehend the 
spirituality of the Law; and they readily 
acknowledge the greatness of their religious 
obligations : but, at the same time, they 
can find no inward satisfaction, no secret 
complacency, in obeying the divine com- 
mandments. I am not at present speaking 
of those who indulge in grosser sins : it 
would be almost an insult to praise a man, 
who had made even the least progress in 
Christianity, on account of his sobriety or 



93 

his honesty. 1 The defect in the persons, 
whose characters I am describing, consists 
in their having a will untamed, unbending, 
and unsubdued. Their affections are too 
much placed on things below, and too 
little on things above. Whatever duties 
they perform are discharged from a sense of 
religious obligation merely ; not from find- 
ing in the discharge of them that spiritual 
pleasure, that communion with God, which 
appears to be at once the happiness and the 
privilege of a Christian. They do not take 
up the yoke with their whole heart, though 
conscience forces them in some measure to 
submit to it. They are strangers to that, 
which is prophesied of our Lord in the 
Psalms ; I delight to do thy will, my God, 

1 " Jntegritatem atque abstinentiam in tanto viro refer- 
re injuria virtutum fucrit." Tacit. Vit. Jgric. \ 9- 



yea, thy law is within my hear I .-* nor can 
they comprehend how it could be his meat 
to do the will of him that sent him* They at- 
tempt indeed to perform this will; but 
every effort is grief and weariness to them. 
They strive to conquer their dislike ; but, in- 
stead of yielding, it seems rather to increase. 

Thus far they coincide in some measure 
with those unhappy men, whose case has 
been already described ; but here, the grand, 
the constituent, difference between them 
commences. The former detest and oppose 
the law of God : the latter simply derive no 
pleasure from paying obedience to it, and 
are not interested in its precepts as they 
could wish to be. The first absolutely hate 
the divine image, which shines conspicu- 
ously in the character of every true Christ- 

1 Psalm xl. 8. *Jolmiv. 34. 



95 

ian : the second love it, and labour earn- 
estly to acquire it, grieving bitterly at the 
waywardness and perverseness of their 
hearts. The first are anxious to stifle the 
voice of conscience, and burn with rasje 

o 

against any person who attempts to rouse, 
it : tho second endeavour to keep the con- 
science tender, and do not cease to regard 
a neighbour as a friend, though he may 
point out failings and deficiencies. In 
short, the former stumble at the very thresh- 
old of Christianity : while the latter lament 
their unwillingness, yet continue striving to 
acquire a relish for their duty. 

\ 

The condition of this second description 
of persons is doubtless uncomfortable, but 
yet very far (I apprehend) frgm being 
dangerous. Let not such despair : let 
them not doubt, but that God, in his own 
gopd time, will accomplish the work, which 



96 

he has begun within them. That they are 
possessed of any good wishes, that their 
hearts are at all inclined, however small 
that inclination may be, towards a desire of 
gaining the favour of God, is an argument 
of greater blessings yet in store for them. 
Every good and every perfect gift cometh 
from above ; nor is a single one bestowed 
without carrying with it a demonstration of 
good \\ ill towards man. However dark and 
clouded may be the prospects of those, 
who acknowledge and lament the hardness 
of their hearts and their utter disinclination 
towards that which is good ; blessed be 
God ! despondency ought not to be their 
portion. He, who has promised that he 
will not bruise the broken reed nor quench the 
smoking jlax, would never have raised 
those wishes for a better disposition of the 
heart, without an intention to gratify them. 
Ask, and ye shall have ; seek, and ye shall 



97 

Jind, is one of those comfortable promises, 
with which Scripture abounds : and we 
cannot, we ought not to doubt, but that the 
strengtli of Israel will accept every one 
without distinction, who cometh to him in 
his Son's name. It is even possible, that a 
man's heart may be sincerely attached to 
God, when he himself is the most ready to 
suspect its sincerity. Actions, not words, 
are the best proofs of a state of grace ; and 
the performance of those duties, from 
which our natural inclinations shrink, is 
assuredly the very highest exertion of reli- 
gious obedience. Thus, if we may argue 
from our intercourse with each other, we 
are accustomed to set a much greater value 
upon the friendship, which will expose it- 
self for our sake to difficulties and incon- 
veniences, than upon that which in serving 
us merely gratifies its own inclinations. 

The road of duty is indeed thorny and pain- 

G 



98 

iul to those, whose natural affections run in 
a different channel : but let them earnestly 
pray to God to grant them strength and 
perseverance, to remove their heart of 
stone, and to give them a heart of flesh. 
The first of these petitions he will most 
assuredly listen to ; and, if the second be 
not immediately granted, they may be cer- 
tain that the refusal proceeds from wise 
reasons best known to himself. He may 
for a time be deaf to their intreaties, with 
a view to try their faith and to exercise 
their patience; to show them, what weak, 
miserable, helpless creatures they are with- 
out his assistance ; and to train them up in 
the school of spiritual discomfort, in order 
that they may be better prepared for the 
everlasting rest of heaven. This dissatis- 
faction with the world and with themselves 
proceeds from God; and however painful 
it may be for the present, let them recpl- 



99 

lect, that the chastisement of their heaven- 
ly Father is the result, not of hatred, but 
of love. The sordid worldling, and the 
dissipated voluptuary, are strangers to that 
conflict between duty and inclination, 
which exists in a greater or in a less degree 
within the bosom of every Christian. 
Hence it is evident that such a struggle, 
provided only that duty generally prevails, 
is an evidence of spiritual life. The dead 
feel not ; the living only possess the powers 
of action and sensation. In the mean 
time, till God is pleased to grant them 
more of that peace which passeth all 
understanding, let them strengthen their 
hearts with some such promises as the 
following. 

For a small moment have I forsaken thee ; 
but with great mercies will I gather thee. 
In a little wrath I hid my face from thee 



for a moment ; but with everlasting kindness 
will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy 
Redeemer. For the mountains shall depart, 
and the hills be removed ; but my kindness 
shall not depart from thee, neither shall the 
covenant of my peace be removed, saith the 
Lord, that hath mercy on thee. Oh, thou 
afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not com- 
forted, behold, I will lay thy stones with 
fair colours, and lay thy foundations with 
sapphires. A fid I will make thy windows of 
agates, and thy gates with carbuncles, and 
all thy borders of pleasant stojics. And all 
thy children shall be taught of the Lord : 
and great shall be the peace of thy children. 
In righteousness shah thou be established : 
thou shalt be far from oppression ; for thou 
skalt not fear ; ctndfrom terror ; for it shall 
not come near thee. A r o weapon that is 
formed against thee shall prosper; and 
every tongue, that shall rise against thee in 



101 

judgment, thou shalt condemn. This is the 
heritage of the servants of the Lord, and 
their righteousness is of me t s.aith the Lord.* 



Isaiah liv. 7. 



CHAPTER IV. 



The influence of the Holy Spirit upon the will 



being by nature in a state of com- 
plete darkness and ignorance, so far as re- 
lates to spiritual things, the first operation 
of the Holy Ghost must necessarily be to 
remove the veil from off his heart and to 
enlighten his understanding. This, how- 
ever, as we have already seen, is of little 
use, unless the affections be also reclaimed 
from the love of sin and converted to the 
love of God. The divine principle, never- 



103 

theless, may exist in the heart, even when 
the favoured possessor of it least suspects 
its presence and is almost ready to despair 
from his supposed deficiency in it. The 
striking difference between the character 
of these humble, dejected, self-condemning, 
believers, and the character of those unhap- 
py men, who know the truth only to hate 
and reject it, has been sufficiently shown. 
Whatever degree of reluctance a man may 
feel in the performance of his duty, yet, if 
he do perform it, if he daily pray and strive 
against this reluctance, if, instead of hatred 
towards the Son of God, he at times be 
sensible of tender grief from the conscious- 
ness of his own obduracy and ingratitude ; 
he may depend upon it, that these emo- 
tions, so opposite to the hellish temper of 
an unrenewed heart, are the first-fruits of 
that Spirit, whose peculiar office it is to 
guide the Christian into all truth. 



Wicked men indeed have sometimes good 
wishes. Even Balaam, when obstinately 
resisting the counsel of tlie Most High, 
could yet exclaim, May I die the death of 
the righteous, and may my latter end be like 
his ! But unhappily these wishes only spring 
up occasionally. There is nothing of that 
abiding sense of God's presence, that restless 
desire of a greater degree of communion 
with him, which every real Christian is wont 
to experience. In the unconverted, good 
impressions, however lively at first, soon 
wear off; and they gradually return to their 
former habits of irreligion : but, in the chil- 
dren of God, such impressions perpetually 
acquire fresh vigour and energy ; they grow 
with their growth, and strengthen with their 
strength, until they imperceptibly become 
the main spring of every thought and ac- 
tion. 



"The foulest hearts/' says Bishop Hal], 
" do sometimes entertain good motions ; 
like as, on the contrary, the holiest souls 
give way sometimes to the suggestions of 
evil. The flashes of lightning may be dis- 
cerned in the darkest prisons : but, if good 
thoughts look into a wicked heart, they stay 
not there ; as those that like not their lodg- 
ing, they are soon gone. Hardly any thing 
distinguishes betwixt good and evil, but 
continuance. The light, that shines into a 
holy heart, is constant, like that of the sun, 
which keeps due times, and varies not his 
course for any of these sublunary occa- 



sions." ' 



The Holy Spirit, then, having enlightened 
the understanding, proceeds, in the next 



' Hall's Works, p. 1058. 



106 

place, to renovate the will and the affec- 
tions. At first, the change in the inclina- 
tions is scarcely to be perceived. Oppress- 
ed with a load of superincumbent corrup- 
tions, the spark of divine life seems at times 
almost to approach to utter extinction. 
But not one word or one tittle of all God's 
promises can fail. The smoking flax will 
gradually burst out into a clear flame, when 
fanned by the gentle breezes of the Holy 
Spirit. A greater conformity will soon take 
place between the will of the Christian, and 
the will of his God. Even should this 
comfort be for a season denied, still he is 
under the protection of his Lord ; who 
views with a loving pity the struggle in his 
heart, and who will doubtless, as soon as it 
shall be expedient for him, cause the light 
of his countenance to shine upon him. Mean- 
while all things work together for his good; 
and, if his inclinations be deficient in fer- 



107 

vency, his conscience acquires fresh tender- 
ness and more acute discernment. The 
difficulty, which he finds in loving what he 
ought to love, gives him deeper views of 
sin, and convinces him more effectually of 
his own utter inability. He now discovers, 
and believes, on the sure ground of actual 
experience, that in himself dwelleth no good 
thing, and that all his sufficiency is of God. 
So far from being faithful to grace, as some 
vainly talk, he daily sees more and more of 
his unfaithfulness ; and, though he strives 
under the influence of the Holy Spirit to 
work out his salvation, yet he is constrained 
to acknowledge that it is God tvho worketh 
in him both to will and to do. 



Since Scripture represents man in his 
natural state as dead in trespasses and sin ; 
it will follow, unless the whole propriety 
of the metaphor be destroyed, that he is 



108 

totally unable, by any inherent strength of 
his own, to raise himself up to the life of 
righteousness. This figurative resurrection 
from the dead is the same, as what is some- 
times termed, by a different metaphor, re- 
generation or a new birth. It is occasion- 
ally likewise represented as a new creation. 
All which images plainly teach us, both 
that a very essential change must take place 
in the moral constitution in order to a man's 
being a Christian, and that that change 
must be effected by some extrinsic power. 

<e To be born again implies, that, as no 
man can bestow upon himself a natural 
being therefore the Scripture chooses to 
express this new birth by such terms as im- 
port in us an utter impossibility and impo- 
tency to effect it by our own power. It is 
called the quickening the dead ; you hath 
he quickened, says the Apostle, who were 



109 

dead in trespasses and sins. Ldok, how im- 
possible it is for a dead man, that is shut 
down under the bars of the grave, that is 
crumbled away into dust and ashes, to pick 
up every scattered dust and to form them 
again into the same members : look, how 

o 

impossible it is for him to breathe without 
a soul, or to breathe that soul into himself. 
Alike impossible is it for a natural man, 
who hath lain many years in the death of 
sin, to shake off from himself that spiritual 
death, or to breathe into himself that spiri- 
tual and heavenly life that may make him 
a living soul before God/' Most assured- 
ly " for this great work God only is equal ; 
it is not in our power to regenerate our- 
selves : for we are not born of blood, nor of 
the will ofthejlesh, nor of the will of man, 



Bishop Hoptyns's Works p. 531, 



110 

that is, not of any natural created strength, 
but of God" 1 He it is, who maketh us new 
creatures. By his Holy Spirit, not by any 
strength of our own, the divine principle of 
love, without which no man can live well, 
is diffused through our hearts.* 

So great a change, however, is not 
effected without much opposition on the 
part of those, who are the subjects of it, 
nor without a vehement exercise of that 
determined resolution, which God alone 
can confer upon them. " After many 
strugglings and conflicts with their lusts and 
the strong bias of evil habits/' as it is rightly 

1 Bishop Wilkins on Prayer, chap. xvii. 

* " Charitas Dei, sine qua nemo bene vivit, difftinditur 
iu cordibus nostris, non a nobis, sed per Spiritum Sanctum 
qui datus est nobis." Augustm. Epist. 105. 



Ill 

observed by Abp. Tillotson, " this resolu- 
tion, assisted by the grace of God, does 
effectually prevail and make a real change 
both in the temper of their minds and in 
the course of their lives : and when that is 
done, and not before, they are said to be 



regenerate. 



Well then might St. Austin exclaim, 
(t To justify a sinner, to new create him 
from a wicked person to a righteous man, 
is a greater act, than to make such a new 
heaven and earth as is already made/' 2 
Well might the pious founders of our 
Church maintain that, " the more regenera- 
tion is hid from our understanding, the 
more it ought to move all men to wonder at 
the secret and mighty working of God's 

1 Tillotson's Serm. on Gal. vi. 15. 
Cited in Homily for Rogat. Week, part i. 



112 

Holy Spirit, which is within us. For it is 
the Holy Ghost, and no other thing, that 
doth quicken the minds of men, stirring up 
good and godly motions in their hearts, 
which are agreeable to the will and com- 
mandment of God, such as otherwise of 
their own crooked and perverse nature they 
should never have. That which is born of 
the Spirit is Spirit. As who should say, 
man of his own nature is fleshly and carnal, 
corrupt and naught, sinful and disobedient 
to God, without any spark of goodness in 
him, without any virtuous or godly motion, 
only given to evil thoughts and wicked 
deeds" yet " such is the power of the 
Holy Ghost to regenerate men, and as it 
were to bring them forth anew, that they 
shall be nothing like the men that they 
were before/' * 



1 Homily for Whitsunday, part i. We may observe 
that in this passage our venerable reformers, in exact accor- 



113 

The reason why our Lord insists so much 
upon the absolute necessity of that change 

dance with the preceding citations from Abp. Tillotson 
and Bps. Hopkins and Wilkins, clearly speak of regenera- 
tion as taking place in adult subjects ; and therefore do 
not attach it necessarily, and in the way of cause and 
effect, to baptism. Analogous to it, is the declaration in 
the catechism, that the two sacraments are only generally 
necessary to salvation. For, since our Lord asserts that 
regeneration is absolutely necessary to salvation, if our 
reformers had believed that the inward spiritual grace was 
altogether inseparable from the outward visible sign, they 
must have maintained that baptism was not merely gene- 
rally, but indispensably, necessary to our entering into the 
kingdom of heaven. These explanatory declarations of their 
entiments .in the homilies and catechism will teach us, 
how we ought to understand the phraseology of the bap- 
tismal service. Sacramental regeneration is there hoped, 
in the judgment of charity, to be real regeneration ; just as 
St. Paul, in his epistles, is wont to address a whole church, 
as if every one of its members were indisputable heirs of 
salvation : but, whether the subjects of baptism have 
n renewed by the Holy Spirit, must bedetermin- 

H 



114 

of the heart, usually denominated regenera- 
tion, 1 appears to be simplythis ; without such 
change zee should labour under a sort of 
natural unfitness to enter into the kingdom 
of heaven. No man can be happy in the 
company of those, whose views and pur- 
suits are totally dissimilar to his own. 



ed by their future conduct. In fact, if we maintain that 
regeneration is so inseparable from baptism, that every 
baptized person is re-generate, and that every unbaptized 
person is imregenerate : \ve shall be compelled to maintain 
that the devout Cornelius was absolutely in the gall of 
bitterness until he was baptized, while the baptized sorce- 
rer Simon was a truly regenerate Christian, notwithstand- 
ing he is declared by Peter to have neither lot nor part in 
4he Holy Spirit. If the reader wish to see the doctrine 
of regeneration clearly stated and the phraseology of the 
baptismal sefvice ably explained, he woujd do well to 
peruse .with attention four sermons by Bp. Hopkins on 
Johniii. 5. They form a complete treatise on the subject. 

1 Johniii. 121. 



115 

They must either conform to him, or he to 
them, before they will be able to associate 
together. He, that is uneasy in the pre- 
sence of the pious upon earth, can never 
derive any pleasure from spending an eter- 
nity with them. The joys of heaven are 
described as purely spiritual ; so much so, 
that even the very best of men, in their 
present imperfect state, are unable fully to 
comprehend them. Au intimate communion 
with God, an intense degree of devotion, a 
peace of mind which passeth all under- 
standing, an entire coincidence of their will 
with the will of God, a never-ceasing round 
of praise and thanksgiving, are proposed 
to the servants of Christ, as their stimulus 
here, and their portion hereafter. But, if 
a maji have no relish for any of these enjoy- 
ments, erep Paradise itself would be no 
Paradise to him. What excited the high- 
est pleasure in others, would produce in 



116 

him no other sensations than those of 
weariness and disgust. His soul would 
sicken at the view of that happiness, which 
he was incapable of tasting ; and, like the 
fabulous Tantalus, he would starve in the 
midst of plenty. On these grounds it is, 
that Bishop Reynolds somewhere remarks, 
with no less beauty than justice, that the 
man, who is weary of a single sabbath upon 
earth, can never derive anv satisfaction 

' . ** 

from the observance of a perpetual sabbath 
in heaven. Every faculty of the soul must 
receive a new tendency ; the image of Satan 
must be gradually eradicated, and the 
image of God must be planted in its stead ; 
or we can never expect to enter into the 
kingdom of Christ. 

It may perhaps be asked, who then can 
be saved ? For where is the man whose will 
is in so perfect a state of conformity with 



117 

the will of God, as to experience no inward 
resistance, no internal straggles, when 
obeying the divine command rnents? Where 
is the person, who possesses such a degree 
of heavenly mindedness, as always to prefer 
the prospects of happiness in another world 
to the certainty of present gratification in 
this? 

I readily answer, that no such character 
exists on this side of the grave ; nor are we 
to expect that any such ever will. The 
deeper insight a man acquires into his own 
heart, the more deeply will he be convinced 
of his inveterate corruption and manifold 
infirmities ; the more bitterly will he bewail 
his sins, and lament the perverseness of his 
will and affections. Here we are not to 
expect any thing more, than the beginning 
of the spiritual life ; the consummation and 



118 

perjection of it is reserved for a richer 
soil and a more genial climate. The taint 
of original sin remains even " in them that 
are regenerated/' The spirit indeed may 
be willing, but the flesh is weak. In the 
bosom of every true Christian, there is a 
never-ceasing conflict between two princi- 
ples diametrically opposite to each other. 
His renewed heart wills to serve God, but 
his corrupt nature resists, and rights against 
his better inclinations. Such will necessa- 
rily be his condition, so long as he remains 
a member of the church militant. Nothing 
will terminate the warfare, but a translation 
into the church triumphant.* 

1 Art. ix. 

* ff Quamdiu vivis, peccatum necesse est esse in mem- 
bris tuis. Saltern illi regnum auferatur, non fiat quod 
jubet." Aug. in Johan. Tract. 41. 



119 

St. Paul has left us upon record, for the 
edification of Christians in all ages, a very 
lively and affecting description of this con- 
test between grace and nature. That which 
I do, I allow not : for what I would, that do 
I not ; but what I hate, that do I. If then 
I do that which I would not, I consent unto 
the law, that it is good. Now then, it is no 
more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 
For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, 
dwelleth no good thing : for to will is present 
with me ; but how to perform that which zx 
good I find not. For the good that I would, 
I do not ; but the evil which I would not, 
that I do. Now, if I do that I would not, /;. 
is no more I that do it, but sin thai dwelleth 
in me. I find then a law, that, when I would 
do good, evil is present with me. For 1 
delight in the law of God after the inward 
man : but I see another law in my members, 
warring against the law of mi/ mind, and 



120 



is MI , mefcfcf* o 

/ am! 



. y,,, w thc 
tody of //,/, ,/,-,;//, ? I thank God thro 
/CfMI 



7 }n ^' h l t 

\tit'*/i thc A . .-,,/ 



Tins intmi:il stm^lr, BQ tar tV>m . 

an argument afainai a ivnowrd w j]|, LS t | lc 



IS, -Cun, COfpUl ^ ,,,,:,. ,-, S piriti, m 

coOo, , rsl fen, ,. t lirluni Mimns . r| - n 

"troq.u-. ul , st. rt COr^Qn rt spiritu, ut Dei r,,/ WM / ;. v 



'> \i ,.)im iuin r:.,n,tuM spiritum 
' v , 

discordtntiv 01 vwttttt mvicom qvotidkiw coi 

ut non in:v \oluni ; ii '"im.v Dum spiritus cctlettiii 

ft ilivni.i ,|u.vnl. i-.no ten. ;'' (t - <l ''iilann CiMu-upiM-it : c[ 
idro prtimus itrprns^ int> !'< i't :ui\iliv) I^-i 

i-oiu-M ( i'..j:n tini : ut. cium ot in spintu rt in cat no voli; 

jn i uni ic ;;r ." 

. Doniin. 



121 

very test, which most decisively proves that 
it is renewed. While a man yields himself 
a willing slave to Satan, or while he con- 
ceals a total igiioraiiee. of his own heart 
under a ileeorons exterior ; he teds nothing 
of the mutest between ^race and nature, 
which is so grievous a burden to every real 
Christian. lie has no conception of that 
restlessness and uneasiness of mind, so feel- 
ingly described by the o-reat apostle of the 
(lentilcs. Having never experienced tin- 
violent resistance which our depraved hearts 
make to the will of (Jod, he has no idea of 
the difficulty of repentance and amend- 
ment. ; nor docs he believe that there is any 
need of divine inlluence to enable him to 
turn from the evil of his ways. I Icnce he 
readily adopts the Pelagian notion, that 
repentance is always m his own power; and 
scoffs at the sober decision of our church, 
41 that tin: condition of man is such, that 



he cannot turn and prepare himself by his 
own natural strength, and good works, to 
faith and calling upon God/" But, as 
soon as he attempts the arduous task of a 
real and vital reformation, a reformation 
which is not confined to bare external 
decorum, but which affects even the very 
inmost thoughts of the heart ; he then be- 
gins to find his weakness and inability, and 
is forced at length by repeated lapses to 
acknowledge that all his sufficiency is of 
God. Along with this conviction, he now, 
for the first time, experiences the internal 
Christian conflict ; he now perceives the 
full meaning of St. Paul's confession ; and, 
like him, is ready to exclaim, O wretched 
man that I am I who shall deliver me from 
the body of this death ? Let him not, how- 
ever, be discouraged, still less despair, on 

1 Art, x. 



123 

account of the opposition, which corrupt 
nature makes to the influences of the Holy 
Spirit. Every Christian, whatever may be 
his rank in life or his progress in piety, has 
had the same enemy to contend with. 
Let him recollect the promise, My grace is 
sufficient for thee ; nor let him doubt, but 
that he, which redeemed Jacob from all evil, 
is equally ready to assist all who find their 
need of a Saviour. Strengthen ye the weak 
hands, and confirm the feeble knees ; say to 
them, that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, 
fear not ; behold, your God will come with 
vengeance, even God with a recompense ; he 
mil come and save you* 

Since probably few Christians of the 
present day will venture to claim even an 
equality with St. Paul in point of holiness, 

1 Isaiah xxxv. 3. 



124 

much less a superiority over him, we may 
derive from his memorable confession 
another important truth : that it is vain for 
man to dream of attaining to perfection in 
this world. Our very best , deeds will 
ever be mingled with sin ; our very best 
wishes will ever be distracted with reluc- 
tance ; and our very best services will ever 
partake largely of corruption. Though some 
may strangely pervert the meaning of 
Scripture and falsely boast of an imaginary 
perfection, the humble disciple, who by 
bitter experience has known the plague 
of his own heart, cannot be thus lamentably 
deluded.' Free indeed every one, that is 

1 1 John iii. Q. " Haec hominibus," says St, Jerome, 
" sola perfectio, si imperfectos se esse noverint." And St. 
Austin, " Nulla remansit iufirmitas ? Si non remansisset, 
sine peccato hie viveremus. Quis autem audeat hoc 
dicere, nisi superbus? nisi misericordialiberatoris indignus? 
nisi qui seipsum vult decipere, et in quo veritas non est ?" 



125 

born of God, must be from a resolute habit 
of sin, and from a predetermined purpose 
of enjoying its pleasures whenever they 
occur. But who shall cleanse himself from 
all his secret faults ? Who is able to purify 
himself from offence in thought, in word, 
and in deed ? Who shall dare to pronounce 
himself clear from the culpability of omis- 
sion, as well as from the presumptuousness 
of commission ? If we say that zze have 
no sm, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is 
not in us.' 



I cannot refrain from observing, it f 'i i v e more than 
once met with writers, who no less roundly than unac- 
countably have asserted that the Calvinists hold the doc- 
trine of sinless perfection in those whom they denominate 
the elect. The Calvinists hold no such doctrine, however 
unwarrantable may be their speculations on the abstruse 
points of predestination and reprobation. 

1 John i. 8. 



126 

Respecting the proper mode of carrying 
on the internal warfare of grace against na- 
ture, very excellent is the advice of Bp. 
Hall. " There are two men/' says he, " in 
every regenerate breast, the old and the 
new ; and of these, as they are ever plot- 
ting against each other, we must take the 
better side, and labour that the new man by 
being more wise in God may outstrip the 
old. And how shall that be done ? If we 
would dispossess the strong man that keeps 
the house, our Saviour bids us bring in a 
stronger than he ; and, if we would over- 
reach the subtilty of the old man, yea the 
old serpent, bring in a stronger than he, 
even the Spirit of God, the God of 
Wisdom/' 1 

Nor is this observation excellent only in 



Bp. Hall's Works, p. 469. 



the way of advice ; it affords also to every 
man a very useful test of his regeneracy. 
If he find that two men are perpetually at 
war within him, and that the one gradually 
prevails over the other ; he has no reason 
to doubt of the reality of his being a child 
of God, though he may never have felt any 
of those sudden and violent pangs of con- 
science which some appear erroneously to 
esteem the very essentials of regeneration. 
But, on the other hand, if he view his be- 
loved self with a fond complacency, and if 
he be totally unacquainted with the- never- 
ceasing inward warfare of a Christian ; he 
then has but too sufficient grounds to be 
very doubtful of the goodness of his state. 
" There are tvo men in every regenerate 
breast/' Where the workings of one alone 
are perceptible, and where consequently 
there is no struggle, is it possible then, if 
Bp. Hall be a sound expositor, that the re- 



128 

newing influence of the Holy Spirit can 
ever have been really experienced ? 

Upon the whole, we may conclude 
that, in the regenerate, the vicious inclina- 
tions of corrupt nature are not so much 
eradicated, as mortified and subdued. A 

i 

new principle is instilled into the heart, di- 
ametrically opposite to the affections of the 
flesh, and waging an eternal war against 
them. It is vain to expect in this world, 
that duty will ever be entirely unattended 
with pain. The carnal mind is enmity 
against God, for it is not subject to the Law 
of God, neither indeed can be. 1 As a rem- 
nant of the idolatrous Canaanites was left 
in the midst of the children of Israel, to be 
a thorn in their sides and a perpetual snare 
to them ; * so are the evil affections of a 

1 Rom. viii.7. Judg. ii. 3. 



129 

Christian a constant source of trouble and 
vexation to him. Yet these lusts of the 
flesh are kept in a state of abject slavery 
to their new master; and, although they 
may be disposed occasionally to rebel, and, 
in fact, do never cordially submit to the 
yoke imposed upon them, still are they daily 
constrained to bow beneath it, still are they 
daily losing some portion of their original 
strength and influence. At times, indeed, 
as every believer knows by woeful experi- 
ence, the house of Saul will appear to prevail 
against the house of David. Long and tedi- 
ous is the war between them, a war which 
can only terminate with the extinction of 
one of the parties ; yet in the course of 
this spiritual struggle, it will be found that 
David waxes stronger and stronger, and the 
house of Saul weaker and weaker. 1 Even 
natural causes will contribute their mite of 

* 2 Sam.iii, 1. 
I 



130 

co-operation with the Spirit of grace. 
What at first was indescribably irksome, 
will through habit gradually become tolera- 
ble, if not palatable, even to our natural 
inclinations ; while the hope of a speedy 
victory and a glorious recompence will al- 
leviate the hardships of the, Christian war- 
fare. Meanwhile the soul, through the 
assistance of the blessed Spirit, will be per- 
_petually advancing in the paths of holiness, 
and perpetually discovering new beauty, 
and experiencing fresh pleasure in them, 
A delightful sense of security, a calm 
reliance upon the protection of God, and a 
consciousness of possessing an interest in 
the merits of the Saviour, will smooth the 
rugged path of duty, and make the rough 
places plain. The communion of saints, that 
golden though invisible chain which forms 
the connexion between the higher and the 
nether worlds, affords a never failing source 
of happiness to the believer. If a pagan 



131 

could exult in the uncertain prospect of 
rejoining his friends in the realms of bliss,* 
what shall we say of the certain view of 
futurity held out to the Christian ? In a 
few, a very few years, death will be swallow- 
ed up in victory, the wicked will cease from 
troubling, and the weary will be at rest. 
Those associates, in whom he most delight- 
ed while upon earth, will soon rejoin him, 
pure, perfect, and sinless, in heaven. He is 
conscious that at present there is a some- 
thing in his nature, a bitter root of perverse- 
ness and corruption, which prevents him 
from attaining to that degree of holiness, 
that entire communion with God, beneath 
which his soul is unable to rest satisfied. 
He delights in the law of God after the i?i- 
ward man, but he sees another law in his 



* Cicer. somiL Scip. 



132 

members warring against the law of his 
mind. 1 Hence arises a wish to quit this 
troublesome world and all its vanities ; a 
desire to be with Christ, which is far better." 
Yet is this wish unalloyed with discontent: 
The Christian can humbly resign himself, 
whether living or dying, to the good* plea- 

1 Rom. vii. 22. 

* Did we feel the vanity of the world as practically as 
we are ready to allow it theoretically, this wish would 
always be predominant in our hearts, though tempered, no 
doubt, with resignation to the will of heaven, and with 
humble gratitude for our deliverance from the merited 
penalties of sin. (< Paulisper te crede subduci in mentis 
ardui verticem celsiorem, speculari inde rerum infra te 
jacentium facies ; et oculis in diversa porrectis, ipse a 
terrenis contactibus liber, flucluantis mundi turbines intu- 
ere. Jam seculi et ipse miscreberis ; tuique admonitus, 
et plus in Deum gratus, majore laetitia quod evaseris gra- 
tulaberis. Cerne tu itinera latronibus clausa, maria ob- 
sessa praedonibus, cruento horroie castrorum bella ubique 
divisa : madet orbis mutuo sanguine ; et homicidium cum 



133 

sure of his heavenly Father, who knows, 
infinitely better than himself what is good 
and proper for him. Thus, secure under 
the protection of his God, and firmly rely- 
ing on the merits of his Saviour, he calm- 
ly awaits the hour of his dissolution ; when 
he shall be delivered from the bondage of 
corruption into the glorious liberty of the 
sons of God, when tears shall be wiped 
away from every eye, and when the sorrows 
of time shall give place to the joys of 
eternity. 



admittunt singuli, crimen est ; virtus vocatur cum publice 
geritur ; impunitatem sceleribus acquirit, non innocently 
ratio, sed saevitiae magnitude)." Cyprian, ad Donat. The 
sum and substance of practical wisdom is condensed in this 
short apophthegm, The fashion of this world passeth 



CHAP. V. 



The influence of the Holy Spirit upon the Affections. 



WHILE the blessed Spirit of God is em- 
ployed in illuminating the understandings, 
and in converting the wills of his servants, 
he is also working a gradual change in 
their affections. He weans them from the 

/ 

gross and terrestrial objects of sense, he 
mortifies the works of the flesh, and he 
draws up their minds to high and heavenly 
things. 1 He teaches them not merely 

1 Art. xvii. 



135 

theoretically, but experimentally, the infi- 
nite disproportion between the .pleasures of 
this world and the joy which is reserved 
for the faithful at the right hand of God. 
By slow and almost imperceptible degrees, 
a surprising change takes place within 
them. They no longer feel any relish for 
those vanities, which the slaves of dissipa- 
tion esteem absolutely necessary for their 
happiness ; and what at first was resigned 
upon principles of duty and conscience, 
though with no small reluctance, now 
ceases to excite a single wish, and is consi- 
dered with indifference or even aversion/ 

1 " By this new nature the very natural motion of the 
soul, so taken, is obedience to God, and walking in the 
paths of righteousness ; it can no more live in the habit 
and ways of sin, than a man can live under water. Sin is 
not the Christian's element ; it is too gross for his renewed 
soul, as the water is for his body. He may fall into it, but 
he cannot breathe in it ; cnnnot take delight and continue 



136 

The life of Christ is the beautiful ex- 
emplar, which every man under the guid- 
ance of the Holy Spirit endeavours to 
imitate. He finds himself uneasy in the 
society of those, whose daily conversation 
is the very reverse of that bright pattern, 
which was once, and only once, exhibited 
before the eyes of sinful mortality ; and 
lie flies with delight to companions, whose 
habits and views are more congenial with 

to live in it : but his delight is in the law of the Lord. 
That is the walk, that his soul refreshes itself in ; he loves 
it entirely, and loves it most, when it most crosses the re- 
mainders of corruption that are in him; he bends the 
strength of his soul to please God, and aims wholly at that. 
It takes up his thoughts early and late ; he hath no other 
purpose in his being and living : but only to honour his 
Lord, that is, to live to righteousness. He doth not make 
a by-work of it, a stud^ for his spare hours ; no, it is his 
main business, his all." Abp. Leighton's Works, Vol. i. 
p. 402. 



137 

his own. Still, whenever there is even a 
faint hope only of effecting a reformation, 
he seeks not morosely to shun the presence 
of the thoughtless and the dissipated/ 
Here his business is to watch for opportu- 
nities of usefulness ; to avoid the appear- 
ance of unnecessary rigour ; and to diffuse 
the practice of holiness, rather by occasion- 
al hints and general remarks, than by 
petulant reproof and pointed allusion. We 
are all, however absurd it may be, more 
subject to the influence of pride and self- 
conceit, than perhaps of any other species 
of mental criminality. It is the particular 



* ' OTTQV TtXenvv XOTTOJ, TroAu xsgSoj. A"Aouj JJOX^TO.; sow 
#s o"0i oyx e<7T*v. /xaXAov TOV; Aoj/Aoregouj ey 7roa<mjTJ 
U7roTa<r<7e. O-j Trav Tgay/ia TJJ ctvTy e[&Tr\et<rTgcp QsgcurEviTcti. 
Tou; 7ra^o0y<T]aouj s^go^a.^ TTCUVS. 0^ov;/xoj ytvou u>s o^ij ev 
7ra:ny, KSH cfAzgctio; (ami TregiVTegct. Ignat. Epist. ad 
Poly carp. 



138 

aim of Christianity to eradicate this master 
passion of the soul ; and all, who have had 
the least experience of their own hearts, 
will readily allow the difficulty of the work. 
If such be the confession of every humble, 
self-denying believer, with what a tremend- 
ous sway must the sin of pride rule in the 
breasts of the carnal and worldly-minded ! 
Men never much relish the being driven to 
their duty. Personal censure, and ill-timed 
advice, always convey an idea of superio- 
rity, and as such will always give offence. 
Impressed with the truth of these remarks, 
the Christian will endeavour to unite pru- 
dence with his zeal. He will strive rather 
to lead men into the paths of salvation, 
than to compel them to come in. Though 
ever upon the watch to do good, he will 
temper his watchfulness with judgment. 
He will study to remove all appearance of 
design and premeditation from what he 
says. He will seek to conciliate the aftec- 



139 

tions of those with whom he converses, 
He will resolutely turn aside from every 
temptation to sarcasm and ridicule, as well 
knowing that the applause, which might 
perhaps be procured by his wit, would be 
but a poor recompense for the diminution, 
probably the loss, of his influence over an 
immortal soul. He will strive, in short, to 
inculcate the maxims of his religion bv 

o / 

example, as well as by precept. With 
these views, and these resolutions, he will 
enter into company, and thus convert even 
an ordinary visit into a plan for promoting 
the glory of God. 

The imitation, then, of Christ constitutes 
the principal study of those, who are in- 
fluenced by the Holy Ghost. Whatsoever 
action they are about to perform, their 
first question is, whether Christ would have 
performed it, bad he been in their situation : 



140 

and it is their constant endeavour to regu- 
late, not only their words, but their very 
thoughts, in a way resembling that, in 
which they have reason to conceive that he 
regulated his. Their ordinary employ- 
ments, their amusements, their choice of 
friends, nay even the most common trans- 
actions of their lives, will be brought to 
the same test. They contemplate the 
heavenly meekness of Christ : and labour 
to transfuse his spirit into their own hearts. 
They view his immaculate purity; and 
strive with yet greater earnestness to put 
off the old man with his lusts. Tliey be- 
hold his wonderful and disinterested love 
for mankind, displayed in a life of active be- 
nevolence and in a death full of pain and 
torment; they hear him praying for his 
murderers, and see him anxiously concerned 
for the welfare of his friends even when 
the prospect of his own bitter suffer- 



141 

ings was directly before his eyes : and, 
full of these thoughts, they learn to 
abhor the narrow spirit of selfishness, and 
feel their souls alive both to the temporal 
and the eternal interests of all their 
brethren. They are taught by his blessed 
example to love their enemies, to bless those 
that hate them, and to pray for those that 
despiteful ly use them and persecute them. 

Thus endeavouring to tread in the steps 
of their divine master, they gradually 
acquire a greater relish for heavenly enjoy- 
ments, and find themselves elevated above 
the fleeting pleasures of this transitory 
world. The amiable mildness and sweet 
serenity of the new disposition, which has 
been implanted in them, is so conspicuous, 
that it cannot but be perceived even by 
those whose hearts are unaffected. It is 
true, that the man, who is naturally of a 



142 

harsh and rugged temper, will never wholly 
attain to the gentleness of those Christians, 
whose affections have been originally cast 
in a different and more beautiful mould. 
Something of the old leaven will yet re- 
main, nor can it ever be totally removed 
except by the hand of death. Yet how 
pleasing is it to behold asperities gradually 
worn away, and, in direct opposition to the 
ordinary course of mere nature, a mild and 
placid old age succeeding to a morose and 
irritable manhood. Such will ever be the 
influence of real Christianity upon all the 
more unkindly passions of the human soul. 
Avarice will become liberality ; unclean- 
ness, purity ; and selfishness, a generous 
desire of promoting the happiness of all 
mankind. Old things are passed away ; be- 
hold all things are become new. 

" Give me," says the eloquent Lactan- 



145 

tius, " a man of a passionate, abusive, 
headstrong, disposition ; with a few only 
of the words of God, I will make him gen- 
tle as a lamb. Give me a greedy, avari- 
cious, tenacious, wretch ; and I will teach 
him to distribute his riches with a liberal 
and unsparing hand. Give me a cruel, 
and blood-thirsty monster; and all his 
rage shall be changed into true benignity. 
Give me a man addicted to injustice, full of 
ignorance, and immersed in wickedness; 
he shall soon become just, prudent, and in- 
nocent. In the single laver of regenera- 
tion, he shall be cleansed from all his 
malignity." 1 

Is it possible for a change like this to be 
effected by mere human means ? The laws 

' Lact. In?t, 1. ii. c. 26. 



144 

of a country may indeed operate so far as 
to prevent open violence, but the Holy 
Spirit of God is alone able to reach the 
soul. The artificial restraints of politeness 
are but a poor, a servile, imitation of that 
true urbanity of manners, that constant 
desire of beins; serviceable to all around us, 

o 

which nothing but the gospel of Christ can 
teach. Pursue the man of the world into his 
retirements; and the smiling insinuating 
courtier will frequently be metamorphosed 
into the negligent and cruel husband, or the 
harsh and tyrannical master. His natural 
temper, now no longer under any restraint, 
breaks out with redoubled violence, and 
vents itself on those who are unhappily 
subjected to his power. Widely different 
is the conduct of the Christian. Acting 
from a higher principle, and experiencing 
the changing influence of the Spirit in the 
very inmost recesses of his heart, he is uni- 



145 

form and consistent at all times and in all 
places. He is the same character in pri- 
vate and in public, at home and abroad. 
His politeness is the politeness of the 
heart, not the spurious offspring of a studi- 
ed and elaborate refinement. 

It is striking to observe the different 
effects of religion and irreligion on persons, 
who are naturally of very opposite disposi- 
tions. 

The originally mild and gentle Nero was 
soon corrupted by the charms of despotism 
and the flattery of sycophants. Proceed- 
ing from bad to worse, he became ultimate- 
ly one of the bloodiest tyrants upon record; 
the terror and aversion of his enslaved sub- 
jects; the murderer of his brothers, his wives, 
and his mother ; and the bitter persecutor 
of Christianity. 

K 



146 

The impetuous, blood-thirsty, and unre- 
lenting Saul, on the contrary, the furious 
opposer of the Gospel, and the determined 
enemy of the Messiah, was changed into the 
" amiable, fervent, and affectionate, apostle, 
ready to bear all hardships, and to submit to 
all the wayward and petulant humours both 
of Jew and of Gentile, in order that he might 
gain some to the cause of his Lord. Read 
that beautiful specimen of the conciliatory, 
his epistle to Philemon. We have great joy 
and consolation in thy love, because the bowels 
of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother. 
Wherefore, though I might be much bold in 
Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient, 
yet for loves sake I rather beseech thee, 
being such an one as Paul the aged, and now 
also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. I beseech 
thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have be- 
gotten in my bonds ; which in time past was 
to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee 
and to me ; whom I have sent again : thou 



147 

therefore receive him, that is, mine own 
bowels : whom I would have retained with me, 
that in thy stead he might have ministered 
unto me in the bonds of the gospel. But 
without thy mind would I do nothing ; that 
thy benefit should not be as it were of neces- 
sity, but willingly. Who would ever have 
supposed, that this delicate and conde- 
scending address could have proceeded from 
the pen of the haughty and implacable 
Saul ? What an astonishing difference be- 
tween the mild yet dignified apostle, and 
the relentless bigot, breathing out threaten- 
ings and slaughter against the disciples, 
making havoc of the church, entering into 
every house, and haling men and women to 
prison ! 

Whence then could arise this difference, 
as singular as it is palpable, except from 
the opposite influences of grace and nature, 
the one gradually correcting the malignant 



148 

propensities of the human heart, the other 
cherishing and fostering them? Had the 
black list of his future crimes been propheti- 
cally displayed before the eyes of the youth- 
ful Nero, he would have been inclined to 
ask, in the words of Hazael, Am I a dog, 
that I should do these things ? Such often 
is the language of modern Infidelity ; but 
by their fruits are the disciples of Christ 
best distinguished from the upholders of 
the empire of Satan. 

The dignity of human nature ; the eternal 
fitness of things ; the moral sense ; the 
beauty of virtue, and the deformity of vice ; 
the tendency of the heart to the one, and 
its repugnance to the other ; the superiority 
of philosophy over Christianity ; the charms 
of universal philanthropy and disinterested 
benevolence : have in our own memory 
been repeatedly and triumphantly brought 
forward. The God of Israel has been in- 



149 

suited to his face ; his statutes, and his ordi- 
nances, have been ridiculed ; the person of 
his Son has been vilified ; the operations of 
his Holy Spirit have been held up, as a mad 
enthusiasm ; and Christianity has been tra- 
duced, as the artful machination of a design- 
ing impostor. We have been informed that, 
when philosophy should take the lead, a new 
and happier order of things would succeed 
to the present. Emancipated from the 
shackles of priestcraft and tyranny, human 
reason would expand itself to its full growth, 
and infallibly conduct us to peace, to love, 
and to happiness. Religion, the bugbear 
of deluded mortals, would hide her dimi- 
nished head ; prejudices would vanish 
from off the face of the earth ; cruelty 
and despotism would become extinct with 
priests and kings ; and the infinite perfecti- 
bility of our nature would commence. 
Wars would be no more heard of; and 
mankind would be one large family, united 



150 

by the ties of a generous affection, and 
actuated by one common principle of mu- 
tual improvement. Thus conferring and 
receiving happiness, we should behold the 
rast globe itself gradually converted into a 
terrestrial paradise. 

Such vain dreams of self-intitled philoso- 
phers have at length received a tremendous 
confutation. We have seen realized, in 
these last days, the theory of a people 
without prince, without priest, and without 
religion. We have seen the Gospel with- 
drawn from a nation, which had long either 
perverted its doctrines, or scoffed at its 
truths. We have seen that nation formally 
cast off the authority of God. We have 
seen her left to legislate, and frame fantastic 
codes of natural religion, for herself. It 
almost appears as if God had wisely per. 
mitted the experiment to be tried, in order 
that man might be taken in his own folly, 



151 

that the different effects of Christianity and 
of unbelief might be placed in the most 
striking point of view, and that the pride of 
Infidelity might be for ever humbled in the 
dust. The religion of God, and the religion 
of Satan, have been palpably contrasted 
together. They have both equally promised 
the blessings of philanthropy, universal 
charity, and diffusive benevolence ; they 
have both equally declared the happiness 
of man to be their object ; and they have 
both equally held out the prospect of ame- 
liorating our nature, and of eradicating 
the seeds of ignorance, cruelty, and corrup- 
tion. 

That the Gospel has most faithfully per- 
formed its promise, the comfortable expe- 
rience of every sincere believer will joyfully 
acknowledge. Many indeed there are, who, 
while they bear the name of Christians, are 
totally unacquainted with the power of 



152 

their divine religion. But for their crimes 

o 

the gospel is in no wise answerable. Chris- 
tianity is with them a geographical, not a 
descriptive, appellation. In strict propri- 
ety of speech, they are no more Christians, 
than the unconverted savages, who roam 
through the trackless deserts of America. 
The same reason equally serves to prove the 
truth of this assertion, and to show how 
little Christianity is bound to answer for 
their misconduct. He is not a Jew which 
is one outwardly ; neither is that circumci- 
sion which is outward in thefeah : but he is 
a JL'W u'hich is one inwardly ; and circum- 
cision in that of the heart, in the spirit, and 
not in the letter ; whose praise is not oj men, 
but of God. 1 

We may now ask, in what manner has 
Infidelity kept her promise to her deluded 

1 Rom. ji. 28. 



153 

followers? She has opened the floodgates 
of licentiousness and immorality ; she has 
deified lust, pride, and blasphemy ; she has 
encouraged an indiscriminate cruelty and 
thirst of blood : she has trampled upon 
those rights of man, which she affected to 
vindicate ; and she has endeavoured to tear 
away the only remaining comfort of the 
wretched, the hope of speedily exchanging 
the miseries of this life for the happiness of 
a better. Such are the fruits of high-vault- 
ing infidelity. 

The effect, indeed, which this sin of sins 
produces upon the mind, is precisely the 
reverse of that change of heart, which in 
Scripture is metaphorically termed regene- 
ration. An overweening pride, a hatred of 
all restraints, a contempt of those milder 
virtues in which Christianity so particularly 
delights, are the usual characteristics of the 
anarch and the deist. Where did we ever 



154 

behold the infidel exhibiting any of those 
fruits of the Spirit, which are the marks, 
the exclusive marks, of those that have been 
born again ? The levity, with which one of 
the most celebrated champions of deism is 
said to have met death, even if the account 
be true, is surely very different from the 
calm serenity, the filial gratitude, and the 
trembling confidence, of an expiring Chris- 
tian. When Mr. Hume was drawing near 
to that awful crisis, which, one would think, 
even the best of men could not behold with 
indifference, how did he employ the few last 
weeks of a fleeting existence ? He read Lu- 
cian, played at whist, and amused himself 
with anticipating the conversation which 
was to take place between himself and Cha- 
ron ! " Drollery," says Bishop Home, " in 
such circumstances, is neither more nor less 
than 

Moody madness, laughing wild 
Amid severest woe. 



155 

Would we know the baneful and pestilen- 
tial influences of false philosophy on the 
human heart, we need only contemplate 
them in this most deplorable instance of 
Mr. Hume/' Such was the man, whom his 
biographer considers, " both in his life-time, 
and since his death, as approaching as near- 
ly to the idea of a perfectly wise and virtu- 
ous man, as perhaps the nature of human 
frailty will permit ! " 

Let us now view a Christian's anticipation 
of death. 

Watch tJwu in all things, endure afflictions, 
do the work of an evangelist, make full proof 
of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be 
offered, and the time of my departure is at 
hand. I have fought a good fight, I have 
finished my course, I have kept the faith : 
henceforth there is laid tip for im a crown of 
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous 



156 

judge, shall give me at that day ; and not to 
me only, but unto all them that love his ap- 
pearing.* 

In this last address of the aged Paul to 
Lis beloved son Timothy, when the pros- 
pect of a speedy dissolution was full before 
him, the marks of a regenerate and sancti- 
fied believer must be evident even to the 
most careless observer. While the Apostle 
joy fully anticipates the promised reward, and 
looks forward with eagerness to that happj 
day, when corruptible shall put on incor- 
ruption, and when mortal shall put on im- 
mortality ; his affectionate heart still yearns 
towards those friends whom he is about 
to leave behind him, and almost his last 
thoughts are employed in pointing out the 
most effectual means of diffusing Christian 
knowledge. 

* 2 Tim. iv. 5. 



157 

Infidelity has of late years displayed a 
zeal in propagating her sentiments, but lit- 
tle inferior to that of primitive Christianity : 
yet, in the midst of her labours, she has 
shown, in a most striking manner, the 
difference of the spirit, with which the 
regenerate and the unregenerate are actu- 
ated. 

The martyr Stephen, in imitation of his 
blessed Lord, spent his last breath in inter- 
ceding for his murderers. Prayers were the 
sole arms of the church of Christ, agreeably 
to his express prohibition of attempting to 
diffuse the gospel by violence ; and never 
did the papists err more completely, than 
when they called in the secular arm. 

But what is the treatment, which all the 
opponents of Infidelity must expect, not- 
withstanding her perpetual appeal to tole- 
ration, candour, liberality, and humanity ? 



158 

One of her warmest adherents desired only 
" to die on a heap of Christians immolated 
at his feet ;" Voltaire proposed, in case his 
antichristian plan should succeed, to stran- 
gle the last Jesuit with the bowels of the 

o 

last Jansenist; a regal apostate avowed, 
that Infidelity could never be established, 
except by the exertion of a superior force ; 
and d'Alembert expressed a wish not un* 
worthy even of a Nero, a wish to see a 
whole nation exterminated, simply because 
they professed the Christian religion. 1 

The meek and submissive spirit of regene- 
ration prompted the apostle to forbid, even 
upon pain of damnation, all resistance to 
the lawfully constituted powers of govern- 
ment. He rightly judged, that self-vindi- 
cation was inconsistent with the character 
of him, who has been born again ; of him, 

1 Barruel, Mem. of Jacobinism. 



159 

who expects his portion, not in this world, 
but in the next. His precepts ^ were faith- 
fully obeyed by the primitive Christians; 
and there is not a single instance upon re- 
cord of any resistance being made even to 
the bloodiest persecutions of the heathen, 
emperors. 

This humility and gentleness, Infidelity 
treats with the most sovereign contempt ; 
she spurns at the idea of a meek and con- 
tented obedience, and she values not the 
blessing of a quiet spirit. Unlike that 
evangelical charity, which seeketh not her 
own, she clamorously demands her rights, 
and preaches the legality of open insurrec- 
tion and rebellion. The gospel reverently 
looks up to God, as the sole fountain of 
power, both civil and ecclesiastical ; but 
Infidelity proudly scoffs at the degrading 
sentiment, and confers upon the populace 
the prerogative of Jehovah. 



160 

I have dwelt the more largely upon the 
spirit of Infidelity, in order that it might 
form the more striking contrast to that of 
a regenerate Christian under the sanctify- 
ing influence of the Holy Spirit. In a 
painting, light appears more vivid from 
being placed in the vicinity of darkness ; 
and beauty possesses a tenfold degree of 
attraction in the neighbourhood of de- 
formity. It is impossible to avoid seeing 
the difference between the real believer, and 
the man who makes this world his god. 
Setting aside all discrepancies of opijiion, 
who is there, that, does not perceive the won- 
derful dissimilarity between the character 
of Paul, and that of a Hume or a Voltaire? 
Who can avoid acknowledging that some 
important change must have taken place 
in the one, of which the others were totally 
ignorant ? There was a time when the great 
apostle of the gentiles, an apostle, moreover, 
well versed in the most polite literature of the 



161 

age, hated, with Voltaire, the very name of 
Christ; and would gladly, with d'Alembert, 
have exterminated, at a single blow, the 
whole multitude of the faithful. What then 
can it be, which hath made him to differ? 
Let us humbly confess, or rather let the 
Apostle himself confess, that it was God, 
who worked in him both to will and to do of 
his good pleasure. Without the convertino- 

^5 

and sanctifying grace of the Holy Ghost, 
Paul would for ever have remained dead in 
trespasses and sins. 

In fine, to use the emphatic language of 
Scripture, the regenerate are the temple of 
the blessed Spirit, built upon the foundation 
of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ 
being the chief corner stone. 1 God himself 
condescends to dwell within them; 1 and, 
. f 

Ephesians, ii. 20. 
1 1 Cor. Hi. 16. 2 Tim. i. 14. l John iv. 12. 15. 16. 

L 



162 

like the Shechinah in his magnificent house 
at Jerusalem, sanctities, illuminates, and 
directs them. 1 What the soul is to the 
body, the Holy Spirit is to the Church. 
By his powerful agency, its members are 
not only enlightened and actuated indivi- 
dually ; but, like the several parts of the 
natural body, they are connected and held 
together in spiritual peace, order, union, 
and harmony.* 



OuSsv Av5vei TOV 
syyoj O.VTCO <rnv. Tlavrtu ovv TTOKUpev ca$ ai/rov ev 
xa.TomovvTO$, ivot WjU-sv aurou vao*, xai ayToj jj iv )jj.v 



wv $ix#ja>j y7rajj,sv aorov. Ignat. Epist. ad Ephes. 

Conversemur quasi Dei templa, ut Deum in nobis con- 
stet habitare. Nee sit degener actus noster a Spiritu, ut 
qui coelestes et spirituales esse coepimus, non nisi spiri- 
tualia et coelestia cogitemus et agawus. Cyprian, de Orat. 
Domin. 

* Barrow's Works. Vol. ii. p. 505. 



163 

Such, and so great, are the privileges and 
endowments of a Christian. However those, 
that sit in the chair of the scorner, may 
mock at the counsel of God, and deride 
the operations of his Holy Spirit; they, 
who have experienced the benefit of his 
influence, thankfully acknowledge the great- 
ness of his power in the conversion and 
sanctification of a sinner. They know, in 
whom they have believed. . If God be for 
them, who can be against them ? In all things 
they are more than conquerors through him 
that loved them. 

Blessed be God, even in these latter days 
of the Christian Church, his arm is not 
shortened. He is still both able and willing 

o 

to save all, who come to him in his Son's 
name. His promises yet receive their ac- 
complishment, nor can one jot or one tittle 
of his word fail. As many as are led by the 
Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For 



164 

ye have not received the spirit of bondage, 
again to fear ; but ye have received the spi- 
rit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 
The Spirit itself bearing witness with our 
' spirit, that we are the children of God: and, 
if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and 
joint-heirs with Christ. For I am persuaded 
that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor 
principalities, nor powers, nor things present, 
nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor 
any other creature, shall be able to separate 
us from the love of God, which is in Christ 
Jesus our Lord. 1 

1 Rom. viii. 14. 38. 



CHAPTER VI. 



The Holy Spirit, a Comforter, and an Intercessor. 



THE Christian, who has been accustomed 
to observe the workings of his heart, well 
N knows that there are times, in which his 
views of a better world are greatly darken- 
ed and obscured. He is deprived of that 
comfortable reliance on the fatherly good- 
ness of God, which once constituted his 
greatest joy and his highest privilege. His 
love towards his Saviour appears to be 
strangely diminished ; and, instead of that 
fervent affection which once he experienced, 
he feels nothing but a cold and painful 
indifference. He sees others rejoicing in 
the paths of holiness, and full of that 



166 

peace which passeth all understanding; 
while his better prospects are fearfully 
clouded, and a deep gloom overhangs his 
dejected spirits. Scripture, instead of 
offering him consolation, presents only a 
menacing aspect ; and he dwells, with an 
oppressive melancholy, upon those passages, 
which contain the severe denunciations of 
an offended God against hardened and im- 
penitent sinners. Ordinances, that once 
seemed to bring all heaven upon his ear, 
now delight no more ; and, though he 
sedulously frequents them, he appears to 
himself to have, as it were, no interest in 
them. The precious dew of God's Holy 
Spirit descends upon all around him ; 
while he alone, like Gideon's fleece, remains 
unaltered. Public and private devotion 
are equally inefficacious ; and even the 
social conversation of a dear and religious 
friend.no longer produces its wonted effect. 
Weary of himself and sick of the world, 
bewailing the deadness of his own heart, 



167 

and mourning for the loss of those better 
days which once he knew, he is ready to 
exclaim, that I had wings like a dove, for 
then would I flee away and be at rest. 1 



Such appears frequently to have been 
the case with that favoured servant of 
God, the holy Psalmist of Israel. O 
Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath, nei- 
ther chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For 
thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand 

' " In spiritual trials, that are the sharpest and most 
fiery of all, when the furnace is within a man, when God 
doth not only shut up his loving kindness from its feeling, 
but seems to shut it up in hot displeasure, when he writes 
bitter things against it : yet then to depend upon him, and 
wait for his salvation, this is not only a true, but a strong, 
and very refined faith indeed, and the more he smites, 
the more to cleave to him. Well might he say, When I 
am tried, I shall come forth as gold. Who could say 
that word, Though he stay me, yet will I trust in him ? 
though I saw, as it were, his hand lifted up to destroy me, 
yet from that same hand would I expect salvation." Abp. 
Leighton's Comment, on 1 Pet. 1 7. 



presseth me sore. There is no soundness in 
my flesh, because of thine anger ; neither is 
there any rest in my bones, because of my sin. 
For mine iniquities are gone over mine head ; 
as a heavy burden, they are too heavy for 
me. I am troubled, I am bowed down 
greatly, I go mourning all the day long. I 
am feeble and sore broken ; I have roared by 
reason of the disquietness of my heart. 
Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my 
groaning is not hid from thee. My heart 
panteth, my strength faileth me ; as for the 
light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. 1 

In another psalm he exclaims ; my tears 
have been my meat day and night, while they 
continually say unto me, Where is thy God ? 
When I remember these things, I pour out 
my soul in me : for I had gone with the 
multitude, I went with them to the house of 
God, with thevoice cf joy and praise, with 

1 Psalm xxxviii. 



169 

the multitude that kept holy-day. Not with- 
standing this use of outward means, the heart 
of the prophet could still find no comfort ; 
Why art thou cast down, my soul ? and why 
art thou disquieted within me ? Deep calleth 
unto deep at the noise of the water-spouts ; 
all thy waves and thy billows are gone over 
me. In this melancholy situation, David 
looks up for help to him, from whom alone 
help can come. my soul, hope thou in 
God, for I will yet praise him, who is the 
health of my countenance and my God. 1 

While the Christian labours under this 
depression of spirits, the subtle enemy of 
mankind is busily employed in harassing 
and distracting his soul. A thousand an- 
xious doubts and fears are suggested to 
him. His former happy communion with 
God appears only like a delusion; and he 
is tempted to suspect, that he never knew 

1 Psalm xlii. 



170 

what real religion is. All those arguments 
and evidences, from which he once con- 
cluded that he was at peace with Christ, no 
longer retain their former efficacy, but 
seem to have vanished into empty air. 
While he thus suffers the terrors of God 
with a troubled mind; he is almost induced 
to believe, that the Most High hath forgot- 
ten to be gracious, and hath for ever shut 
up the bowels of his compassion against 
him. 1 



1 There are some very useful obervations on this sub- 
ject, in a sermon by the late Bp. Home, intitled, The 
blessing of a cheerful heart. He judiciously refers the 
gloom, which I have been describing, ultimately to a kind 
of infidelity, a timorous distrust of God's promises. 
Something of that sort will generally be found at the bot- 
tom of religious despondency, insomuch that every 
Christian has great reason daily to pray, Lord, I believe, 
help thou mine unbelief. See also Bp. Reynolds' works, 
p. 458. and Doddridge's Rise and Progress of Religion, 
chap. xxiv. from which very valuable treatise many of the 
following observations are borrowed. 



171 

Persons in this uncomfortable state 
ought first to consider, whether their case 
does not require the physician rather than 
the divine. It is almost superfluous to 
observe, what has been already so often 
observed, how wonderful a connexion there 
is between the soul and the body. A long 
train of nervous affections will generally 
produce, if I may use the metaphor, a kind 
of enervation of the mind. Its faculties 
will lose their elasticity ; and a deep depres- 
sion of spirits will take place of that com- 
fort and serenity, which it is the direct ten- 
dency of Christianity to inspire. Thanks 
be to God, our religion is not a system of 
gloomy observances, or a succession of rites 
which fieeze the soul with horror, and teach 
it to consider the beneficent Creator in the 
light of a sanguinary and unrelenting 
demon. The Gospel contains glad news of 
great salvation to lost mankind ; and, as 
such, ought to convey to us sensations of 
pleasure, not of sorrow and melancholy. 



172 

If, therefore, disorder be the sole cause of 
this painful dejection, a mere natural mala- 
dy must be remedied by natural means ; for 
we have no right to expect that God should 
interfere with a miracle, in order to prevent 
a bodily distemper from producing its ordi- 
nary effect upon the mind. 

But, where the corporeal frame is in a state 
of perfect good health, and where every 
nerve is strung up to its proper pitch, if 
this painful sense of alienation from God, 
so emphatically and beautifully styled in 
Scripture the hiding of God's face, 1 still 
subsist ; it will then be necessary to com- 
mence a deep and impartial scrutiny both 
of the inward thoughts and of the outward 
conversation. Sins may have been com- 
mitted, and repentance may have been 
neglected. Or, if external pollution has 
been avoided, the imagination may have 

' Isai. Ixiv. 7. and lix. 2. 



173 

been for some time past deliberately and 
habitually tainted with impurity, inflamed 
with hatred, or too eagerly and exclusively 
employed upon sensible objects. Should 
such, upon a candid examination, appear 
to have been the case, we may rest assured, 
that our offences have separated between God 
and us, and that our iniquities have caused 
him to withdraw the cheering light of his 
Holy Spirit. Even supposing that the 
conscience does not plead guilty to these of- 
fences, we may possibly find, upon a more 
close search, that we have not entirely sur- 
rendered ourselves to the service of our hea- 
venly master. Some secret reservation, some 
private compromise, may still be made. 
Like Ananias, we may be inclined to give 
only a part to God, still retaining the 
remainder for ourselves. Whichever of these 
be the case with us, it is our duty immedi- 
ately to put away from us the accursed 
thing and humbly to solicit peace and recon- 
ciliation with heaven. If we find within our- 



174 

selves a readiness to submit to the painful 
task of self-examination, that very circum- 
stance ought to be a matter of comfort to us 
in the midst of our dejection. " It is a good 
sign of grace/' as Bp. Hopkins well 
observes, " when a man is willing to search 

o 

and examine himself, whether he be gra- 
cious or not. There is a certain instinct in 
a child of God, whereby he naturally de- 
sires to have the title of his legitimation 
tried ; whereas a hypocrite dreads nothing 
more than to have his rottenness searched 
into. Try yourselves by this ; do you love 
the word of God because it is a searching 
word, because it brings home convictions 
to you, and shakes your carnal confidences 
and presumptions ? Do you love a mi- 
nistry, that speaks as closely and particu- 
larly to you, as if it were another con- 
science without you ; a ministry, that ran- 
sacks your very souls, and tells you all 
that ever you did ? Do you delight in a 
ministry, that forceth you to turn inward 



175 

upon yourselves, that makes you tremble 
and look pale at every word, for fear it 
should be the sentence of your damnation ? 
This is a sign that your condition is good, 
because you are so willing to be searched/' 1 

If such be our case, and if, after a dili- 
gent scrutiny, we are able to discover 
nothing more than those ordinary imperfec- 
tions with which the life of the very best 
Christian is chequered ; if we cannot detect 
any particular cause of that gloom, which 
overhangs our spirits : let us not in such cir- 
cumstances be like unto men without hope. 
We may depend upon it, that we are 
exposed to this trial for the wisest and 
most merciful purposes. All things will 
finally work together for good to those that 
love God. Perhaps it may be necessary 
for our spiritual welfare, that our faith 
should be proved, that our self-confidence 

1 Bishop Hopkins' Works, p. 553. 



176 

should be abated, and that we should be 
made to see that man, even in his best estate, 
is altogether vanity. The careless and the 
inconsiderate are ignorajit even of the very 
existence of this internal distress. Those, 
that God loveth, are the persons whom he 
more particularly chasteneth. If David 
was so frequently constrained to mourn l)ij 
reason of affliction, and to exclaim in the 
bitterness of his heart, Lord, why easiest 
tliou off my soul ? why hidest thou thy face 
from me ? l can we reasonably expect to 
be made perfect without suffering ? Our 
blessed Saviour himself was a man of sor- 
rows and acquainted with grief, and such 
also his disciples must frequently be. His 
tender care, however, has not left us with- 
out a provision against the day of evil 
tidings. Blessed are they that mourn, for 
they shall be comforted. 1 ' This promise he 
was afterwards pleased to explain more at 

1 Psalm Ixxxviii. 14. * Matt. v. 4. 



177 

large, and to point out to us that gracious 
personage, through whose agency we may 
expect to receive the balm of consolation. 
I will pray the Father, and he shall give you 
another comforter, that he may abide with 
you for ever ; even the Spirit of Truth ; 
whom the world cannot receive, because it 
seeth him not, neither knoweth him : but ye 
know him ; for he dwelleth with you, and 
shall be in you. I will not leave you comfort- 
less* 

In these words, another very important 
office of the Holy Ghost is pointed out to 
us ; and a promise is made, that he should 
abide with us for ever in the capacity of a 
comforter. Through the midst of that gloom, 
with which the Christian is sometimes sur- 
rounded, a ray of light at length breaks in 
upon his soul, and dissipates the heavy 

1 Johnxiv. 1 6. 

M 



178 

clouds of despondency. His mourning is 
turned into joy ; and, instead of his ashes, 
he receives the oil of gladness. His filial con- 
fidence in God is again restored to him ; he 
clearly sees the infinite merit of his Re- 
deemer's sufferings ; and doubts not to ap- 
ply to himself that gracious invitation, 
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are 
heavy laden, and I will refresh you. Such are 
the great things, which God the Spirit hath 
done for his soul, and which he fails not to 
acknowledge with praise and thanksgiving. 
The remembrance of his past sorrows 
heightens his present joy ; his faith is great- 
ly increased ; and he learns to cast his bur- 
den upon the Lord, 1 who alone is able to 
sustain him.* 

1 Psalm Iv. 22. 

* " The peace that we have with God in Christ, is invio- 
lable ; but, because the sense and persuasion of it may be 
interrupted, the soul, that is truly at peace with" God, may 
for a time be disquieted in itself, through weakness of 
faith, or the strength of temptation, or the darkness of 



179 

The Holy Psalmist frequently celebrates 
the goodness and mercy of God for having 
delivered him from this oppressive load of 
mental indisposition. I waited patiently 
for the Lord ; and he inclined unto me, and 
heard my cry. He brought me up also out of 
the horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set 
my feet upon a rock, and established my 
goings. And he hath put a new song in my 
mouth, even praise unto our God ; many shall 
see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.\ 

desertion, losing sight of that grace, that love and light of 
God's countenance, on which its tranquillity and joy 
depend. Thou hidest thy face, saith David, and I was 
troubled. But when these eclipses are over, the soul is 
revived with new consolation, as the face of the earth is 
renewed, and made to smile with the return of the sun in 
the spring ; and this ought always to uphold Christians in. 
the saddest times, viz. that the grace and love of God, 
towards them, depends not on their sense, nor upon any 
thing in them, but is still in itself incapable of the smallest 
alteration." Abp. Leighton's Works, Vol. i. p. 47. 

1 Psalm xl. 1. 



180 

Most indeed of those Psalms, which begin 
sorrowfully, terminate with expressions of 
joy and triumph. In short, as Dr. Barrow 
well observes, " it is a notable part of the 
Holy Spirit's office >to comfort and sustain 
us, as in all our religious practice, so parti- 
cularly in our doubts, difficulties, distresses, 
and afflictions ; to beget joy, peace, and 
satisfaction in us, in all our performances, 
and in all our sufferings, whence the title of 
comforter belongeth to him." 

In addition to the internal trials of harass- 
ing doubts and fears, the Christian is also 
exposed to those external ones which are the 
common lot of mortality. His communion 
with God does not exempt him from cala- 
mity and disease, from the loss of his dear- 
est relatives, and from the ingratitude of 
his most confidential friends. They, whose 
portion is in this world, are frequently 

* Barrow's Works, vol. ii. p> 505. 



181 

much less subject to temporal misfortunes, 
than the pious and the just. Troubles of 
various kinds are often the lot of the most 
highly favoured children of God. It is 
good for them to be kept in a state of per- 
petual warfare, in order that they may be 
safe from carnal security and effeminate 
indulgence. The luxury of Capua proved 
more fatal to the Carthaginian hero, than 
all the efforts of Roman valour : *and a 
Christian is never more in danger, than 
when taught by prosperity to consider him- 
self no longer in an enemy's country. 
Whatever his afflictions are, he may rest 
assured that they are sent in mercy, not in 
anger ; that they are designed to wean his 
affections from sublunary objects, and to 
rivet them more immoveably upon the 
promised joys of heaven. When every 
earthly prospect of felicity is blasted by the 
pangs of disease or the inroads of poverty, 
by the premature death of our best beloved 
friends, t)r the loss of worldly reputation 



182 

for the sake of our religion ; we then learn 
to look for happiness beyond the grave, in 
those blessed abodes where the wicked cease 
from troubling, and where the weary are at 
rest. In such distressing circumstances, 
the Christian is not deserted by his Saviour ; 
and he soon finds, by his own happy expe- 
rience, that the Lord is a God who keepeth 
his promise with a thousand generations. 
Through the gracious influences of the Holy 
Spirit, he finds a light springing up in the 
midst of darkness ; his sorrows are gradu- 
ally assuaged ; his confidence in God is 
increased ; and ne is brought at length to 
acknowledge that it is good for him, that 
he has been afflicted. Ye now have sorrow, 
said our blessed Lord to his disciples, but I 
will see you again, and your joy no man 
takethfrom you? 

It is usually so ordered by the merciful 

1 John xvi. 22. 



183 

providence of God, that, when worldly 
comforts are at the lowest ebb, and when 
earthly enjoyments are violently torn away 
from our grasp ; the soul is then best fitted 
for divine exercises, and acquires a more 
thorough insight into heavenly matters. 
This sacred consolation seems to be in- 
creased or diminished, according to the 
varying exigencies of the Christian. During 
the pains of martyrdom, all heaven opened 
upon the enraptured eyes of Stephen ; and 
he beheld his Saviour ready to receive him 
into the mansions of everlasting felicity. 
Unless, however, we should be placed in a 
similar situation, we certainly have no 
grounds to expect an equal degree of com- 
fort : yet, when the pious believer is strip- 
ped of all the good things which this world 
can afford, and when the iron has entered 
into his very soul ; when his mortal part is 
wasting away with disease, and when his 
immortal spirit trembles on the verge of 
futurity ; is it unreasonable to suppose that 



184 

the God, who hath promised to make all 
his bed in his sickness, will be his guide 
and his support even to death itself? While 
the current of life is fast ebbing, never to 
flow again in this world ; may we not 
humbly trust that the Holy Spirit will 
.descend into the soul with a full tide of 
glory, that all misgiving fears and anxious 
doubts will be removed, and that the terror 
of uncertainty will be converted into the 
filial confidence of hope ?' 

" I trust, Beloved," says the judicious 
Hooker, " we know that we are not repro- 
bates, because our spirit doth bear us 
record, that the faith of our Lord Jesus 

1 Far be it from me to assert, that these sensible com- 
forts are in the slightest degree necessary and essential to 
saltation : on the contrary, it is highly probable, that the 
sun of many of God's faithful servants hath set behind a 
cloud, in order only to rise with greater splendor in the 
kingdom of heaven. The possibility, and the necessity, of 
such comforts, are two entirely distinct ideas. 



185 

Christ is in us. It is as easy a matter for 
the spirit within you to tell whose ye are, 
as for the eyes of your body to judge where 
you sit or in what place you stand. For 
they, which fall away from the grace of 
God and separate themselves unto perdi- 
tion, they are fleshly and carnal, they have 
not God's Holy Spirit. But unto you, 
because ye are sons, God hath sent forth 
the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, to 
the end ye might know that Christ hath 
built you upon a rock unmoveable ; that 
he hath registered your names in the book 
of life ; that he hath bound himself in a 
sure and everlasting covenant to be your 
God, and the God of your children after 
you. The Lord, of his infinite mercy, give 
us hearts plentifully fraught with the trea- 
sure of this blessed assurance of faith unto 
the end." 1 

1 Hooker's Works, Vol. iii. p. 557, 5*8. Oxf. Edit. 



186 

We are not however to imagine, that the 
comforts of a Christian are uniformly the 
same at all times, or that an equal sense of 
being at peace with God is granted to every 
believer. " This assurance," says the 
excellent Archbishop Leighton, " all the 
heirs of glory have not ordinarily within 
them, and scarce any at all times equally 
clear. Some travel on in a covert cloudy 
day, and get home by it, having so much 
light as to know their way, and yet do not 
at all clearly see the bright and full sunshine 
of assurance : others have it breaking forth 
at some times, and anon under a cloud : 
and some more constantly. But, as all meet 
in the end, so all agree in this in the begin- 
ning, that is, the reality of the thing ; they 
are made unalterably sure heirs of it, in 
their effectual calling/" 

The scriptural expression, the Seal of the 
I Works, Vol. ii. p. 340. 



18? 

Spirit, seems plainly to signify, that the 
soul of that Christian, upon whom it is im- 
pressed, bears as evident marks of confor- 
mity to the will of God, as the wax does of 
similarity to the seal by which it has been 
stamped. 1 By means of this resemblance, the 
Spirit bcareth witness with our spirits that we 
are the children of God, thus infusing into 
our hearts the sweet balm of divine consola- 
tion. As the Christian clearly discerns, that 
there is a natural unfitness in the unregene- 
rate soul to enter into the kingdom of 
heaven ; so, in consequence of the change, 
which has taken place within him, he 
argues, that the regenerate soul, the soul 
which bears the impression of the seal of the 
Spirit, is also unfit for the society of the 
damned. However deeply he may be con- 
scious of his numerous deficiencies, yet he 

1 See Bp. Hopkius's Works, p. 529- Bp. Andrews's 
Works, p. 654, 660. Bp. Hooper's Works, p. 581. Bp. 
Wilkins on Prayer, p. 2 



188 

finds within himself a certain relish and 
affection for heavenly matters, which he 
knows is foreign to his nature, and which 
consequently must have been derived from 
some external influence. Of ourselves we 
can neither will nor do any thing that is 
good ; he finds, that he does both will and 
do that which is good, though in a degree 
far inferior to his wishes : hence he con- 
cludes, that his sufficiency is derived, not 
from himself, but from God. He looks 
around him, and perceives that the bulk of 
mankind have no standard of action except 
their own inclinations ; they consider not 
what is acceptable to God, but what is 
pleasing to themselves ; and their own 
gratification is the sole end of all their pur- 
suits. On the contrary, he cannot avoid 
observing, though it be with the utmost 
humility, that his conduct is influenced by 
widely different principles. Self is daily 
mortified, and the sense of duty is daily 
strengthened. His lofty looks are humbled. 



189 

and his haughtiness is bowed down ; the Lord 
alone is exalted, and his honour alone is con- 
sulted. 1 Though he may perpetually fall 
short of his intentions, yet those intentions 
remain unaltered ; and his fixed purpose is 
to do all things to the glory of God.' When 
he considers what has been done for his 
soul, he is filled with gratitude and humility. 
His own vileness forms such a contrast with 
the mercy of his Redeemer, as fills him 
with astonishment ; and he is constrained 
to acknowledge, that the whole is the Lord's 
doing. Such is that blessed correspondence 
of our inclinations with the will of God, 
which Scripture denominates the seal of tht 
Spirit ; such are those strong consolations, 
which the Almighty alone is able to bestow 
upon us. 

Nor does the title of Paraclete convey 
simply the idea of a comforter ; it is also 

1 Isaiah ii. 1 1 , 



190 

the office of the Holy Ghost to suggest to us 
fit matter for our devotions, and to present 
our imperfect supplications before the 
throne of grace. Of ourselves, we are 

o 

unable to offer up a single acceptable 
prayer; for every good and every perfect 
gift cometh from above. Hence the Apostle 
declares, that the Spirit also helpeth our 
infirmities ; for we know not what we should 
pray for as we ought : but the Spirit itself 
maketh intercession for us with groan- 
ings which cannot le uttered. 1 He is our 
advocate at the bar of heaven, where he 
continually pleads in our behalf the merits 
of our blessed Saviour with an eloquence, 
of which mortal tongues are incapable. 
To adopt the language of the pious Barrow, 
<c He reclaimeth us from error and sin ; he 
supporteth and strengthen eth us in tempta- 
tion ; he advisetli and admonisheth, exci- 
teth and encourageth, us to all works of 

1 Rom. viii. 26. 



191 

piety and virtue. He guideth, and quick- 
eneth, us in devotion : showing us what we 
should ask ; raising in us holy desires and 
comfortable hopes ; disposing us to ap- 
proach unto God with fit dispositions of 
mind, love, and reverence, and humble 
confidence. He is also our intercessor with 
God ; presenting our supplications, and 
procuring our good. He cryeth in us, he 
pleadeth for us to God. Whence he is 
peculiarly called vapax^ros, the advocate ; 
that is, one, who is called in by his good 
word or countenance to aid him, whose 
cause is to be examined, or petition to be 
considered." 1 

These are the benefits which the Christian 
receives from the Holy Spirit, in the way of 
consolation and intercession. In the midst 
of his troubles, he is not left comfortless ; 
for he is perfectly assured and convinced, 

* Barrow's Works, Vol. n. p. 505. 



192 

that God careth for him. A peace unknown 
to the wicked is diffused over his heart ; 
and he gratefully confesses that the hand, 
which bestowed it, must be divine. He 
approaches the throne of grace without 
fear ; for he knows in whom he hath believed, 
and relies upon the intercession of the Al- 
mighty Spirit. Impressed with the convic- 
tion of these great truths, he can joyfully 
take up the words of the Psalmist ; The 
Lord is my shepherd ; I shall not want. He 
maketh me to lie down in green pastures ; he 
leadeth me beside the still waters. He resto- 
reth my soul, he leadeth me in the paths of 
righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though 
I walk through the valley of the shadow of 
death, I will fear no evil ; for thou art with 
me ; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 
Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me 
all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the 
house of the Lord for ever. 1 

1 Psalm xxiii. 



CHAP. VII. 



The fruits of the Spirit contrasted with the works of 
the Flesh. 



I. NOTWITHSTANDING the preceding dis- 
cussion, some one may still perhaps be 
inclined to ask, How am I to know, whether 
my understanding, my will, and my affec- 
tions, have indeed been acted upon by the 
Holy Spirit of God ? The question is a 
most important one, yet, I trust, by no 
means unanswerable. Would we solve it 
satisfactorily, let us have recourse to 
Scripture. 

1. Some attempt to reduce the whole of 
the influences of the Spirit to a mere exter- 

N 



194 

nal decorum ; and profanely decry as en- 
thusiasm the belief in that supernatural 
change of heart, the necessity of which is 
so strongly inculcated by our Saviour. As 
if it were probable, that the diabolical sins 
of envy, hatred, and malice, sins perfectly 
compatible with outward decency, did not 
render a man just as much a child of hell, 
as the more glaring turpitude of drunken- 
ness, fornication, and dishonesty. 

2. On the other hand, some would per- 
suade us, that almost the whole of religion 
consists in warm and lively feelings ; and 
that, unless our souls are perpetually (as it 
were) in the third heaven, we know but lit- 
tle of the nature of the Spirit's influences, 
or of the privileges of genuine Christianity. 
Hence they are obviously led to imagine, 
that if sensible comforts abound, they may 
safely conclude themselves at peace with 
God ; but that, if they be withdrawn, thej 



195 

have no longer any right to believe them- 
selves his children. Thus the favour of the 
Almighty, of him who knoweth neither 
change nor shadow of turning, is supposed 
to be as variable and irregular as the human 
temperature. The frequent coldness and 
languor of our devotions, the perpetual 
wandering of our thoughts from divine 
subjects, and the indifference with which 
we too often contemplate the redeeming 
goodness of our Lord, are indeed sad 
proofs of the corruption of our nature, 
and afford ample cause for humility and 
contrition : but there is no reason to think, 
that they are marks of unregeneracy, or 
tokens of God's rejection and abiding dis- 
pleasure. His covenant is built upon a 
surer foundation than either our feelings or 
our faithfulness : feelings, which are sub- 
ject to incessant variation; and faithful- 
ness, which the very best of us must own 
to be but too unfaithful. 



196 

3. God willing more abundantly to show 
unto the heirs of promise the immutability of 
his counsel, confirmed it by an oath ; that by 
two immutable things, in which it was impos- 
sible for God to lye, we might have a strong 
consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay 
hold upon the hope set before us : which 
hope we have as an anchor of the soul both 
sure and stedfast. 1 

This is the great charter of the Christian, 
on which he builds the hope of his salva- 
tion. God hath sworn, that he will never 
forsake the heirs of promise ; but that he 
will be with them in every trial, and will 
safely conduct them to the very end of 
their pilgrimage. Therefore, with faithful 
Abraham, they believe even against hope 
and in despite of their natural feelings. They 
may be cast down, but they are not des- 

1 Heb. vi. 17. 



197 

troyed ; and, in the inidst of all their dif- 
ficulties, they trust that a life is hid for them 
with Christ in God.' Faith is not the 
evidence of things seen, but of things un- 
seen : consequently, if our religious state 
was to be decided by our feelings, the very 
foundation of faith would be overturned ; 
and we should have sensible demonstration 
of that, which we are required to believe, 
simply because God has promised it. 

II. The same question however may 
still be asked ; How am I to know, whether 
I have been renewed by the Holy Ghost ? 
How can I tell whether I have any right to 
apply God's promises to myself? The 
charter of salvation is sufficiently clear and 
explicit; but that will afford ME little 
comfort, unless I have good reason for 
thinking that I am included. 



1 Coloss. iii. 3. 



198 

1. Let us see, whether we cannot find an 
answer to these queries, in the page of 
Scripture. St. Paul informs us, that the 

flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit 
against the flesh : and these are contrary 
the one to the other. 1 Are we sensible then 
of any internal contest of this description 
in our hearts ? Do we perceive a new prin- 
ciple, to which we were formerly strangers, 
strongly drawing us to the practice of holi- 
ness and all good works ; while another 
principle damps our ardour, discourages 
our exertions, and too frequently frustrates 
our best resolutions ? He, that has never 
felt such a struggle, must either be sinless 
or dead in sins. It is needless to say, that 
the former supposition cannot but be 
erroneous. 

2. We further learn from the Apostle, 
that we cannot do the things that we would. 

' Gal. v. 17. 



199 

Are we deeply conscious then, that this 
is our case ? Do we daily more and more 
discover our own insufficiency ? Do we la- 
ment that we cannot perform our duty bet- 
ter, labouring however at the same time 
incessantly after spiritual improvement? 
Many persons will readily enough acknow- 
ledge their imperfections ; but the question 
is, in what manner do they make the ac- 
knowledgment ? Do they realty feel the 
burden of their sins to be intolerable ? Do 
they indeed, and from the very bottom of 
their souk, experience the pain and grief 
of falling so far short of their wishes ? Or 
do they confess their failings with as much 
phlegmatic indifference, as if it were a mat- 
ter which concerned any body in the whole 
world rather than themselves ? The disor- 
ders of the soul are constantly represented 
in Scripture by corresponding disorders of 
the body : hence it is reasonable to sup- 
pose, that, as corporeal pain is the result 
of the latter, so mental pain or grief will be 



200 

the natural consequence of the former. In 
what manner then is a person affected, who 
has long laboured under the pressure of a 
severe disease ? Will he speak of his pains 
with insensibility ? Will he sit down per- 
fectly contented with his malady, totally 
forget its inconvenience, and take no steps 
to procure its removal, or at least its alle- 
viation ? Where did we ever meet with a 
sick man, who answered to this description? 
Can we then easily believe, that he is very 
sensible of his spiritual disorder, who speaks 
of it with carelessness, finds it no obstacle 
to his enjoyments, and feels scarcely any 
desire for its expulsion ? If a man really per- 
ceived, that he cannot do the things which 
he would, in the same manner that St. Paul 
did, he would experience the same restless 
sorrow, which constrained the Apostle to 
cry out ; O wretched man that I am, who 
shall deliver me from the body of this death ? 
Let us then seriously ask ourselves, Do we 
clearly discern our inefficiency ; do we la- 



201 

ment our numerous failings ; and do we 
labour earnestly after amendment? The 
answer to these questions is almost alone 
sufficient to decide, whether we have any 
right to consider ourselves heirs of the pro- 
mise. 

The Apostle however is not content tc 
let the matter rest here. He gives us a 
black catalogue of those deeds of darkness 
which are the works of the flesh, and then 
forcibly contrasts them with the fruits of 
the Holy Spirit, thus paraphrasing, as it 
were, our Saviour's brief declaration, By 
their fruits shall ye know them. 

III. Now the works of the flesh are mani- 
fest, which are these ; adultery, fornication, 
unclean-ness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witch- 
craft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, 
strife, seditions, heresies, envy ings, murders, 
drunkenness, revellings, and such like : of the 
which I tell you before, as I have also told 



202 

you in time past, that they which do such 
things shall not inherit the kingdom of God* 

1. If then we be anxious to know whe- 
ther we are led by the Spirit of God, let us 
examine ourselves, and learn whether we 
work the deeds of the flesh. Do we live in 
habits of fornication and uncleanness ? Are 
we addicted to the foul sin of drunkenness? 
Or, supposing that we are free from these 
external abominations, are we equally guilt- 
less of internal wickedness ? Do we set up 
the world as an idol in opposition to the 
living God ? Do we indulge in sentiments 
of uncharitableness towards our neigh- 
bours ? Do we entertain a proud, self- 
sufficient, opinion of ourselves ; and con- 
tend, upon all occasions, with the bitterest 
animosity, for what we call our rights ? Are 
we irheasy and restless beneath the lawful 
authority of our superiors, perpetually 

1 Galat. v. 19. 



203 

striving to foment discord and sedition, des- 
pising dominion, and speaking evil of digni- 
ties? 1 Do we delight in promoting schism 
and heresy in the Church ; and, under the 
cloak of Christian zeal, in acting the same 
part now, that Korah, Dathan, and Abi- 
ram, did of old ? Are we guilty of pervert- 
ing religion into rebellion, and faith into 
faction, or of concealing the most Anti- 
Christian sentiments beneath the specious 
mask of piety and humility? Let us dili- 
gently scrutinize our hearts, and see, whe- 
ther they produce these corrupt fruits ; and 
if we unhappily find such to be the case, 
while we lament our wickedness and trem- 
ble at our danger, let us pray God to grant 
us a better spirit and to enable us to for- 
sake the evil of our ways. What is the 
awful declaration of the Apostle respecting 
the workers of iniquity ? I tell you before, 
as I have also told you in time past, that they 

1 Jude 8. 



204 

which do such things shall not inherit the 
kingdom of God. 

2. It may perhaps be said, If God be 
extreme to mark what is done amiss, who may 
abide it ? Where is the man, who does not of- 
fend daily, both in thought, word, and deed ? 

We readily acknowledge, that our very 
best deeds are unclean in the eyes of him, 
who chargeth even his angels with folly ; but 
the point is, in what manner do we bear 
the consciousness of our sinfulness? Are we 
penitent, or impenitent, offenders ? Mercy is 
abundantly held forth to the former : but 
pardon is never once offered to the latter. 
Though God gives his grace to the humble, 
he stedfastly resists the proud and the pre- 
sumptuous. Were we really conscious of 
the load of our iniquities, did we really de- 
sire to be freed from their yoke, we should 
feel ourselves little less incommoded by our 
subjection to them, than the eye does when 



205 

inflamed with even the most minute parti- 
cle of sand. We all know, that the very 
smallest mote occasions such an exquisite 
degree of pain in the organ of vision, as to 
permit us to enjoy no rest until it be ex- 
tracted. Something similar to this are the 
sensations of the man, who truly feels his 
sin to be a grievous burden to him. He is 
uneasy and restless until it be removed ; he 
cannot cheerfully, or even tamely, acquiesce 
in its dominion ; nor can he be content, so 
long as he knows himself to be its vassal. 

Here then we have another test, by which 
we may decide whether or no we are in a 
state of grace. If we acknowledge our sins 
without the least compunction and without 
any wish to be freed from their tyranny, 
our situation is indeed most awfully dange- 
rous ; we tremble on the very brink of a 
precipice, from which if we fall, we fall to 
rise no more. But, if we feel a vehement 



206 

degree of pain and restless uneasiness in 
their continuance, if we experience a strong 
and ardent desire for their removal, if we 
labour incessantly to effect their extirpation, 
if we declare everlasting war against them : 
our situation then is good ; we have then 
no reason to doubt, but that the Holy Spi- 
rit of God is contending for the possession 
of our hearts. In such a case, let us joy- 
fully welcome the heavenly visitor, and re- 
sign ourselves implicitly to his guidance and 
direction. 

3. We are not however to be content with 
mere negative religion, with only endea- 
vouring to abstain from evil ; we must also 
labour after the things that are good. The 
Holy Spirit is an active energetic principle, 
and is perpetually employed in new-mould- 
ing the hearts of the faithful and in leading 
them to the practice of all righteousness. 
Good works, as our Church justly deter- 



207 

mines, 1 necessarily spring out of a true and 
lively faith ; and it is impossible for those, 
who are under the influence of the Holy 
Ghost, to avoid showing whose servants 
they are by their life and conversation. 
Hence, a striking difference of character 
will always be perceptible between the 
children of light and the children of dark- 
ness : insomuch that, generally speaking, 
it will require no very great degree of pene- 
tration to discriminate between them ; espe- 
cially, if we study the strongly-drawn por- 
traits of them, with which we have been 
furnished by the Apostle. 

IV. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, 
peace, fang-suffering, gentleness, goodness, 
faith, meekness, temperance : against such 
there is no lazv. And they, that are Christ's, 
have crucified the flesh, with the affections and 
lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also 

walk in the Spirit. 1 
r i 

* Art, xii. Galat. v. 22. 



208 

1. The Christian, though originally in a 
state of enmity with God, has his affections 
so far changed by the influence of the Holy 
Ghost, that he now loves what before he 
hated, and now hates what before he loved. 
None perhaps of the sacred writings breathe 
the spirit of divine charity in a more emi- 
nent degree, than those of the beloved dis- 
ciple of our Lord. They contain a beau- 
tiful picture of that dove-like temper which 
seems peculiarly to have belonged to their 
author, and may be considered as a kind 
of manual for the daily use of believers. 

Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna. 

From a constant perusal of them, joined 
with the prayer of faith, we may reasonably 
expect to derive some portion of that spirit 
with which they are animated. When a 
Christian considers his own rebellious and 
perverse nature, and contrasts it with the 
wonderful goodness of God, displayed in 
his redemption and sanctification ; his heart 
is softened with such condescending marks 



209 

of Almighty love. He is astonished at that 
mercy and patience, which so long bore with 
his iniquities and spared him till the hour 
of repentance arrived. He recollects num- 
bers cut off in the midst of their career, with- 
out ever having had his opportunities vouch- 
safed to them; and the words of the Apostle 
instantly recur to his mind, Who hath made 
thee to differ from another ? He is deeply 
conscious, that he had no claim upon God 
on the score of a prerequisite meritorious- 
ness ; and he acknowledges that he might 
justly have been suffered to perish in his sins. 
This conviction, united with the considera- 
tion of his present happy state, fills his heart 
with sentiments of humble love and devout 
gratitude. He confesses the whole to be free 
grace, and he gives all the glory to God. 
Boasting is excluded, and a heart-felt humi- 
lity takes place of vanity and presumption. 

We were by nature the children of wrath, 
even as others ; but God, who is rich in mercu, 

O 



for his great love wherewith he loved us, even 
when we were dead in sins, hath quickened its 
together with Christ : by grace ye are saved : 
tnd hath raised us up together, and made us 
sit together in heavenly places in Christ Je- 
sus : that in the ages to come he might show 
the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kind- 
ness toward us through Christ Jesus For 
through him we both have access by one Spirit 
unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no 
more strangers and foreigners, but fellow- 
citizens with the saints, and of the household 
of God ; and are built upon the foundation 
of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ 
himself being the chief corner-stone.* 

The contemplation of these benefits ex- 
cites the utmost love of the Christian, and 
he experiences the truth of St. John's decla- 
ration : Herein is love, not that we loved 
God, but that he loved us, and sent his son 

1 Ephes. ii. 3. 18. 



211 

be the propitiation for our sins. We love 
him, because he first lovejd us. 1 While his 
affections are thus set on things above, he 
does not forget to draw the same edifying 
conclusion from the goodness of his heavenly 
Father, which the Apostle did before him. 
If God so loved us, we ought also to love one 
another* This is the only sure foundation 
of love to our brethren. The world has 
often largely and eloquently discoursed 
upon sincerity and disinterestedness, but it 
has felt little of the reality ; and a thousand 
untoward accidents will overthrow the most 
ancient friendships, unless they be built 
on the rock of Christianity. That, which 
among natural men is a mere abstract idea, 
a metaphysical non-entity, is converted by 
the influence of religion into a glorious 
reality. Behold how these Christians love 
one another, was the constrained observa- 
tion even of paganism ; and such will 

* 1 John iv. 10. 19. * 1 John iv. 11. 



always be the case, wherever vital religion 
prevails. An ardent desire to promote the 
spiritual welfare of our neighbours, a tender 
concern for the interest of their souls, and 
a hearty wish to do them all the good in our 
power, independent of any secondary mo- 
tives, are some of the best proofs that we 
are led by the Spirit of God. Beloved, let 
us love one another : for love is of God, and 
every one that loveth is born of God, and 
knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth 
not God, for God is love If we love one. 
another, God dwdleth in us, and his love is 
perfected in us. Hereby know we t that we 
dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath 
given us of his Spirit If a man say, I love 
God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar : 
for he that loveth not his brother whom he 
hath seen, how can he love God, whom he 
hath not seen ? And this commandment have 
we from him, That he, who loveth God, love 
his brother also. 1 



1 John iv. 7. 12.20. 



2. When the Christian is thus in a state 
of charity both with God and his neigh- 
bour, he experiences that joy and that 
peace, which passeth all understanding ; 
which the world is neither able to confer, 
nor to take away. His joy is not like the 
mad, short-lived joys of the children of 
darkness, but stable and durable. It is 
founded upon the sense of his being recon- 
ciled to God, through the blood of Jesus 
Christ. Hence it is not liable to be affect- 
ed by those outward circumstances, which 
shake the happiness of the worldly-minded. 
In the midst of persecution and distress, 
sickness and affliction, the serenity of the 
Christian still remains unmoved ; and he 
looks forward with confidence to the recom- 
pence of reward, being well assured, that 
all these momentary sorrows work for him a 
far more exceeding and eternal weight of 
glory. His joy and peace, it is true, are 
not of a violent and tumultuous kind ; they 
arc rather a sensation of security and tran- 



214 

quillit3 r , than a sudden flash of rapturous 
transport ; they resemble the salutary and 
equable warmth of the sun, not the porten- 
tous blaze of a meteor. Such was the peace, 
which the apostles experienced, when they 
rejoiced, that they were counted worthy to 
suffer shame for the name of Christ ; * 
and such was that confidence, which 
made the primitive martyrs appear ra- 
ther as if they were marching in a tri- 
umph, than as if led to torments and igno- 
miny. External sorrows, indeed, the 
Christian must expect, but nothing is able 
to deprive him of his internal comfort. 
Notwithstanding his outward distresses, he 
feels all the value of his privileges, and 
envies not the transitory prosperity of the 
worldling. Ye now have sorrow, said our 
Lord to his disciples, but I will see you 
again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your 
joy no man takethfrom you* This serenity, 

1 Acts v. 41, a John xvi. 22. 



215 

though undoubtedly not without some in- 
terruptions, is the portion of the Christian 
through the appointed term of his pilgrim- 
age. It may occasionally for wise purposes 
be withdrawn, and his sensible comforts 
may be diminished ; but the eye of faith 
still looks forward to the joys of heaven, 
and anticipates the time when doubt and 
sorrow shall be swallowed up in victory. 
Grief is seldom long the portion of a Christ- 
ian. A light springs up in the midst of 
darkness, and gladness once more becomes 
the lot of such as are true-hearted. The 
joys of religion are the encouragement of 
youth, and the prop of old age. Without 
them, we sicken even in the midst of pros- 
perity ; and, with them, adversity loses all 
its terrors. They sweeten our slumbers ; 
they soothe our waking hours. At home 
and abroad, in private and in public, they 
are our constant companions, our richest 
treasures. The vigour of youth, and 
the blush of health, are transitory bless- 



216 

ings ; the pride of rank soon wearies ; and 
riches make themselves wings and fly 
away : but the joy of a Christian, though 

o 

it walks upon earth, hides its head in 
heaven. It is the gift of God ; and God 
alone is able to deprive him of it. 

3. An abiding sense of his own defects, 
and a grateful remembrance of undeserved 
mercies, produce in a believer the amiable 
qualities of long-suffering, meekness, and . 
gentleness. Differences, indeed, there will 
be in the various tempers of various Christ- 
ians ; nor do the naturally harsh and rug- 
ged, perhaps, ever attain to the same emi- 
nence in these graces, as the naturally 
placid and benign. But a similar spirit 
will nevertheless be observable in them all ; 
a spirit far removed from that proud sense 
of injury, that haughty self-vindication, 
which constitutes the very essence of mo- 
dern honour. A desire of mutual accom- 
modation ; a meek endurance of the 



217 

perverseness of others ; a patient tolerance 
of those little affronts, which are the 
offspring of childish petulance, and which 
are frequently more irritating than serious 
acts of injustice ; mark the characters of all 
real Christians. He, to whom nature has 
given less of the milk of human kindness, 
mourns in private over those sallies into 
which he is sometimes hurried, and labours 
incessantly to check the impetuosity of his 
temper. On the other hand, he, who has 
received a more plentiful share of the mild- 
er affections, blesses God for his bounty, 
and rejoices in the cultivation of his talent. 
All are not born with the amiable disposi- 
tion of St. John ; but all are enabled, in a 
sufficient degree, to subdue innate ferocity, 
and to repress the sudden starts of proud 
indignation. The leopard is constrained to 
lie down with the kid, and the wolf to dwell 
with the lamb ; the lion and the bear put 
off their savage natures, and submit to the 
guidance even of an infant. 



218 

4. Another eminent fruit of the Spirit is 
goodness. Without holiness naman shall see 
the Lord, but without the assistance of the 
Holy Ghost no man can attain to holiness * 
hence goodness is rightly enumerated 
among the fruits of the Spirit. The Christ- 
ian will not allow himself to indulge in the 
commission of any sin. The same sense of 
duty, which restricts him from fornication 
and uncleanness, forbids him also to violate 
the laws of temperance and moderation. 
He is not satisfied with a partial observance 
of God's commandments ; his principle is 
universal and unlimited obedience. He 
seeks not to extenuate a favourite vice; he 
strives not to persuade himself, that it is 
only a venial infirmity : he rather labours to 
eradicate it entirely from his breast, and to 
tear it away, though it be as dear to him as 
the apple of his eye. Yet, while he strug- 
gles to attain personal holiness both in 
thought, word, and deed; he carefully 
guards against the fataJ error of trusting to 



219 

it for his justification. When he has done 
all, he still acknowledges himself to be an 
unprofitable servant ; and places all the 
hopes of his salvation, solely upon the me- 
rits of his Redeemer. 

5. This stedfast reliance upon the all- 
sufficiency of the blood of Christ is the 
grand and most important gift of the 
Spirit. Faith is the tree, from which all 
other graces spring ; the shield, which is to 
defend us from the assaults of the powers 
of darkness ; the sure rock, upon which we 
must lay our foundations. That faith, 
which is the fruit of the Spirit, is not a 
barren, inactive belief, a cold, speculative 
assent to the truth of our religion ; but a 
lively, energetic principle, which God alone 
is able to instill into the heart. We may 
be irresistibly compelled to a bare belief 
by the mere force of evidence ; but, unless 
God is pleased to superadd to it a Christian 
faith, it will only be the same conviction as 



220 

that, which forces the devils to tremble. A 
man must believe with the heart to right- 

C5 

eousness, 1 not simply with the head ; or he 
will derive but little benefit from the ortho- 
doxy of his faith. Not every one, that saith 
unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the king- 
dom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of 
my Father, which is in heaven. Christian 
faith is a grateful acknowledgment of the 
mercies of redemption ; an unshaken con- 
fidence in the word of him, who hath pro- 
mised ; the instrument, by which we re- 
ceive the benefits of Christ's death and 
passion ; and the main-spring, which occa- 
sions and regulates all our actions. It 
is the seed of all goodness, and the fruitful 
parent of all those graces which adorn the 
Christian profession. Through faith, the 
weak become strong ; the doubtful, reso- 
lute ; and the timid, courageous. Faith 
holds up before their eyes the prospect of a 
heavenly kingdom, and convinces them of 
the emptiness of earthly enjoyments. It 

' Rom. x, 10. 



enables them to crucify the flesh with its 
affections and lusts, to fear no difficulties, 
and to shrink from no dangers. It teaches 
them to draw near in fall assurance of hope, 
having their hearts sprinkled from an evil 
conscience and their bodies washed with pure 
water, and to hold fast their profession 
without wavering, for he is faithful that 
promised. It enables them to lay aside, 
every weight and the sin which doth so easily 
beset them, and to run with patience the 
race that is set before them, looking unto 
Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith, 
who for the joy, that was set before him, en- 
dured the cross, despising the shame, and is 
set down at the right hand of the majesty of 
heaven. In short, faith is the middle link, 
which connects the visible and invisible 
worlds ; which supports us in this life, and 
fits us for the life to come. 

V. Such are the blessed fruits of the 
Spirit of God : a total change takes place 



222 

in the heart ; and along with it a total 
change in the motives, the actions, and the 
conversation. An answer is now obtained 
to the important question, Have I been re- 
newed by the Holy Ghost ? Try yourself 
by the Christian standard ; examine your- 
self diligently ; and see, whether you pro- 
duce those fruits, which are meet for repen- 
tance. Do you indulge in the practice of any 
known sin ? Do you suffer yourself to be 
enslaved by the diabolical passions of envy, 
hatred, and malice ? Do you find a self- 
ish spirit predominate, instead of that gene- 
rous and diffusive love, which is the pecu- 
liar characteristic of Christianity ? So 
again, if you be happily conscious that 
such is not your case, do you perform your 
good deeds from a sincere desire of pro-* 
moting the honour of God and the cause 
of religion, rather than from vain-glory and 
ostentation ? Do you strive in all things to 
consult the will of the Most High, however 
it may cross your own private inclinations ? 



223 

And do you labour to subdue and eradi* 
cate every unkind emotion and every vici- 
ous propensity ? Hereby we do know, that 
we know Christ, if we keep his command- 
ments. He that saith, I know him, and 
keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and 
the truth is not in him. But, whoso keepeth 
his word, in him verily is the love of God 
perfected. Hereby know we that we are in 
him. He, that saith he abideth in him, 
eught himself also so to walk, even as he 
walked* If then we would know, whether 
we be under the influence of the Holy 
Spirit, let us consider how far we imitate 
the example and tread in the steps of our 
blessed Saviour. 

1. Perhaps some dejected self-condemned 
penitent may be ready to exclaim ; Alas ! 
who may abide when God cometh in judg- 
ment ? My transgressions and rebellions 

' 1 Johnii. 2. 



arc so numerous ; my good deeds arc so few, 
so trifling, and so ill-performed; my per- 
'Verseness of temper is so incorrigible ; my 
selfishness is so deeply rooted; my love to 
God and my brethren is so feeble, so insin- 
cere, and so lukewarm ; that I can scarcely 
venture to conclude, that I have received the 
Holy Spirit into my heart. When I see the 
progress which other Christians have made 
in holiness, and compare it with my own 
backwardness ; when I contrast their cheer- 
ful zeal with mil own reluctance and indiffe- 

/ t/ iAS 

rence ; I appear to myself to be scarcely 
worthy of bearing even the name of a be- 
liever ; much less of being a suitable resi- 
dence, a fit temple, for the Holy Ghost. I 
stand condemned by my own conscience ; and 
how can I hope that God will acquit me f 

Such cases as these are far from being 
unfrequent ; but, though they may be 
painful, they arc the very reverse of being 
dangerous. Let a person in this situation 



Q25 

consider the wide difference between his 
state of mind, and that of the gay, luxu- 
rious worldling. While the one is depressed 
even to the very dust by a deep sense of 
his own unworthiness, the other is totally 
free from all such disquieting reflections. 
He sees not his sinfulness, and perceives 
not his danger. He is little concerned 
either about the promises, or the terrors, 
of religion ; and fancies that he cannot but 
be safe in the road which is trod by so 
many thousands besides himself. 

Fair laughs the morn, and soft the zephyr blows, 

While proudly riding o'er the azure realm, 

In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes, 

Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm ; 

Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sway, 

That, hush'd in grim repose, expects his evening prey. 

This is generally the situation of the vo- 
luptuary ; and is it more safe, because the 
danger is concealed ? Can his condition be 
thought preferable to yours? God has 

P 



been pleased in his mercy to open the eyes 
of } r our understanding, and to show you 
the hideous gulph which yawns at your feet. 
Can this be a sign of his enmity towards 
you ? Surely it is rather a mark of his 
loving kindness, ,a proof that he has not 
yet forgotten to be gracious. You might 
still have been wrapt in the sleep of spiri- 
tual insensibility, like numbers, who must 
daily occur to your observation ; and would 
you be willing to exchange your situation 
for theirs ? You will readily answer ; No. 
Why then, let me ask, should you doubt, 
but that God, who has begun a good work 
in you, will also in his own due time 
accomplish it ? You cannot distrust either 
his power, or his love. He is able to save 
even to the uttermost ; and his love will 
never permit him to reject any afflicted 
sinner, that comes to him in his son's name. 

2. You will perhaps say ; I find within 
myself such little evidence of my being 



227 

wider the guidance of the Spirit, that I dare 
not hope to meet with a favourable reception 
from God. 

Consider the reason, why Christ came 
into the world : was it to save the just, or 
the unjust; the angel, or the sinner? If 
we had never deflected from our original 
purity, should we have had any need of a 
Saviour? Guilt, not innocence, requires 
expiation. I came not to call the righteous, 
but sinners, to repentance. The question is 
not, whether you have attained to immacu- 
late perfection ; but whether you are heart- 
ily sorry for your imperfection, and labour 
to make greater advances in holiness. 
Your very self-condemnation shows, that 
you possess at least one Christian grace, 
that of humility ; and your grief is a proof, 
that you have the desire to become better. 
Reflect then a moment ; whence can this 
humility and this desire have proceeded ? 
Are they the deeds of the flesh, or the 
fruits of the Spirit ? 



3. But I fear, that these are the only 
fruits which I produce ; and that they alone 
are scarcely sufficient to prove, that I am 
in a ftatc of grace. 

Do you imagine then, that you are to 
attain to the summit of Christian practice, 
before you have well set out upon your 
journey ? There is a growth in holiness, as 
well as in the natural body : neither of 
them attain to their full stature suddenly ; 
and we must be content in both cases to be 
children, before we are men. The main 
point is, whether or no, you are pressing 
forward ; if you are, however slow and even 
insensible your progress may be, it is a 
proof that the spiritual life is not extinct. 
Your present situation may be uncomfort- 
able ; and it is wisely ordered, that it should 
be so. It effectually prevents you from 
resting satisfied with your present attain- 
ments, and constrains you to labour more 
abundantly. In the mean time, remember, 
for your comfort, the gracious promise of 



him, who spake as never man spake. 
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their's is 
the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they 
that mourn, for they shall be comforted. 
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit 
the earth. Blessed are they who do hunger 
and thirst after righteousness, for they shall 
be Jilted. 1 Thus is heaven promised as the 
reward of your humiliation ; comfort, as 
the happy result of your sorrow ; and the 
fullest satisfaction, as the end of your eager 
desire after a more perfect communion with 
God. 

4. After all, it may very possibly be, that 
you have made a much greater progress in 
religion, than you yourself are conscious of. 
That very Christian, whom you look up to 
as so much your superior, may perhaps at 
the same time be mourning his own defici- 
ency in those graces, which to him seem to 

1 Matt. v. 3. 



230 

flourish much more abundantly in your 
heart. They, who are the most advanced 
in holiness, have always the most accurate 
perception of sin ; and consequently are 
much more sensible of their failings, than 
others who have had less experience of 
themselves. They see so much imperfect- 
ion in their very best deeds, so much obsti- 
nacy even in their reformed wills, and so 
much corruption in their purest affections ; 
that, while they deeply perceiv r e the neces- 
sity of being saved solely by the merits of 
Christ, they are apt to think no human heart 
so replete with perverseness as their own. 
Even the laborious Apostle of the Gentiles 
pronounces himself less than the least of all 
the Apostles, unworthy of bearing the name 
of an Apostle ; and every Christian, who 
possesses the least degree of self-knowledge, 
can most feelingly exculpate him from the 
charge of an affected humility. They, 
who complacently view their own good 
deeds, and, while they bless themselves 



that they are not like other men, verily 
believe that they produce the fruits of the 
Spirit in the highest perfection, are much 
further removed from the kingdom of God, 
than the humble, self-condemning, penitent, 
sinner, who dares not so much as lift up his 
eyes unto heaven. Such an one need in 
no wise despair. Though his heart may 
accuse him, God is greater than his heart 
and knoweth all things. 1 Let him redouble 
his diligence, and leave the rest in the 
hands of his Redeemer. The merciful 
Saviour never yet cast out a single person, 
who claimed his assistance and besought 
his intercession. 

5. I cannot better conclude this descrip- 
tion of the fruits of the Spirit, than with 
the beautiful delineation which St. Paul 
has given us of Christian love ; and which, 
if I may use the expression, is a miniature 
portrait of every sincere believer. 

1 1 John iii. 20. 



Charity suffer eth long, and is kind; chari- 
ty envyeth not ; charity vaunteth not itself, 
is not puffed up, doth not behave itself un- 
seemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily 
provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in 
iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth ; beareth 
all things, believeth all things, hopeth all 
things, endureth all things. 1 

1 1 Corinth, xiii, 4. 



CHAP. VIII. 



The constant influence of the Holy Spirit necessary 
to convey us in safety to the end of our pilgrimage* 



WHEN a man has been once deeply con- 
vinced of the extreme sinfulness of his 
heart, and has discovered from repeated 
lapses his utter inability to walk in the 
way of God's commandments by any inhe- 
rent strength of his own ; he will naturally 
be anxious to learn, how he is to arrive in 
safety at the end of his pilgrimage. He 
knows too well by bitter experience, that 
the moment he is left to himself, he is sure 
to fall more or less from that degree of 
Christian perfection, to which he had previ- 



234 

ously attained. When the supporting arm 
of God is withdrawn, as a trial of his faith, 
and in order to convince him of his frailty ; 
his strength withers, his spiritual faculties 
decay, and he becomes weak like any other 
man. 1 He finds that the occasional as- 
sistance of the Spirit is not sufficient ; but 
that he requires it every day, every hour, 
every minute.* As the body is unable to 
perform its functions, unless constantly 
supplied with the breath of life ; so does 
the soul constantly require the vivifying 
inspiration of the Holy Ghost. 

In Scripture, spiritual ideas are conveyed 
to our minds by natural objects ; nor is it 
possible to form a conception of them 
through any other medium, than that of 

1 Judges xvi. 17. 

* " Opus est nobis auotidiana sanctificatione, ut qui 
quotidie delinquimus, delicta nostra sanctificatione assidua 
repurgemus." . Cyprian, de Orat. Domin. 



235 

some one of our senses. If the Holy 
Ghost bore no other denomination than 
that of the third person of the Trinity, we 
should be unable from such a title to form 
any definite notion of his attributes. But 
when he is styled Ruach and Pneuma, 
words which primarily signify the air in 
motion, we are led to conclude, that there 
must be some analogy between his influ- 
ence upon the soul and that of the atmos- 
phere upon the body. This persuasion is 
strengthened by finding, that the same 
terms are invariably used to describe the 
action both of the divine and the material 
spirit. The play of the lungs, by which 
the atmosphere is received into our animal 
frames, is termed inspiration ; the very 
name, by which the conveyance of super- 
natural powers to the mind, is uniformly 
designated. But we are not to confine the 
term inspiration merely to the gift of pro- 
phecy : our church teaches us to give it a 
much more extensive meaning, and to 



236 

apply it to that ordinary assistance of the 
Spirit, which every believer is intitled to 
expect. She directs us to pray, " that the 
thoughts of our hearts may be cleansed by 
his inspiration,'" and " that by his holy inspi- 
ration we may think the things that be 
good;" 2 thus clearly showing, that our re- 
formers, though they rejected all vain and 
fanatical pretensions to the gift of prophecy 
or the authority of revelation, yet decided- 
ly maintained the necessity of the constant 
ordinary inspiration of the Spirit. What 
that inspiration is, hath already been 
abundantly shown in considering those 
operations of the Holy Ghost, which take 
place in the soul of every believer : I mean 
the enlightening of the understanding, the 
rectifying of the will, the purification of 
the affections, and the production of those 

* Collect in Commun. Service. 

a Collect to the 5th Sund. after Easter. 



237 

graces which the Apostle terms fruits of the 
Spirit. 1 

In consequence of the air being thus the 
appointed emblem of the third person of the 
Trinity, our Lord compares the operations 
of the one to the operations of the other,* 

1 " We find in the Scriptures both of the Old and New 
Testament, that the persons of the eternal Three, and 
their economical offices and operations in the spiritual, are 
represented by the three conditions of the celestial fluid, and 
their operations in the material world. Thus the peculiar 
emblem of the Word, or second Person, is the Shemesh or 
Light ; and he is, and does, that to the souls or spirits of 
men, which the material or natural light is and does, to 
their bodies. The third Person has no other distinctive 
name in Scripture, but Ruach in Hebrew and Pneuma iu 
Greek, both which words in their primary sense denote 
the material spirit, or air in motion; to which appellation 
the epithet Kadesh, Hagion, Holy, or one of the names of 
God, is usually added : and the actions of the Holy 
Spirit in the spiritual system are described by those of the 
air in the natural." Parkhurst's Hebrew Lexicon Vox 



* John Hi. 8. 



238 

and communicates the gift of the Holy 
Ghost to his disciples by breathing upon 
them. 1 That wonderful effusion of the 
Spirit on the day of Pentecost was attend- 

/ 

ed with a sound from heaven as of a mighty 
rushing wind, expressive of those miracu- 
lous powers, which were the instrument of 
producing so great a revolution in the 
superstitions of Paganism: and, in the 
mystic epithalamium of Solomon, the fruc- 
tification of the Church is described by 
the soft breezes of the south wind blowing 
among the aromatic plants of an eastern 
garden.* 

If we wish then to understand the man- 
ner in which the Spirit operates upon the 
soul, we must inquire in what manner the air 

1 John xx. 22. 

* Cantic. iv. 16. Our translators, in the title which 
they have prefixed to the fourth chapter of this divine 
song, give it as their opinion, that in the sixteenth verse 
" the Church prayeth to be made fit for the presence of 
Christ." 



239 

operates upon the body. Now we find, 
that the air surrounds the body on all sides, 
is perpetually inhaled by it, and is so neces- 
sary to its health, that death is the certain 
consequence of its being withdrawn. In a 
similar manner, so long as the Holy Ghost 
animates the soul of the Christian, it enjoys 
the highest degree of spiritual health ; if 
the vivifying principle be in part with- 
drawn, the soul languishes ; and, if it be 
once entirely removed, what is figuratively 
termed the second death immediately takes 
place. 1 We are no more able to advance 
in our heavenly pilgrimage without the con- 
stant inspiration of the Holy Ghost, than 
we should be to accomplish some long 
journey upon earth without the perpetual 
inspiration of the atmosphere. To be de- 
prived of either is equally fatal ; the one 
to the spiritual, the other to the natural, 
economy.* 

1 Revel, xx. 14. 

* " The branch can bear no fruit, nor preserve nor ripen 



240 

On this account, it is a most important 
matter to inquire, what scriptural reasons 
we have to expect the unceasing assistance 
of the Holy Spirit ; for melancholy indeed 
would be our situation, had we the road to 
everlasting life merely pointed out to us, 
and were we thenceforward left to pursue 
it by the unaided exertion of our own 

that which it hath, but by its unity with the root : light 
continues not in the house, but by its dependence on the 
sun ; shut out that, all the light is presently gone. Take 
water away from the fire, and its nature will be presently 
stronger than the heat it borrowed, and suddenly reduce 
it to its wonted coldness. So we can do nothing but by 
the constant supplies of the Spirit of Christ. He, that 
begins, must finish every good work in us. He, that is the 
author, must be the finisher of our faith too. Without 
him, we cannot will nor do any good. Without him, 
when we have done both, we cannot continue, but shall 
faint in the way. His Spirit must lead us. His arm 
must heal and strengthen us. As we have received him, so 
we must walk in him : without him we cannot walk. God 
is the God of all grace : to him it belongeth not only to call, 
but to perfect ; not only to perfect, but to strengthen, stab- 
lish, settle us." Bp. Reynolds's Sinfulness of Sin, p. ISO. 



241 

strength. The hearts of the stoutest would 
be appalled at the sight of the dangers and 
difficulties which everywhere present them- 
selves, unless they were convinced that God 
himself was on their side ; and the spirits 
even of the most vigourous would fail them, 
if it were a matter of doubt whether the 
Redeemer might not possibly desert them 
in the last stage of their pilgrimage. Argu- 
ing only from the bare light of reason, it 
surely is unworthy of the goodness of God 
to suppose, that he would forsake his 
children in their greatest need, and leave 
them exposed in their declining years, an 
unresisting prey to all the malice of Sa- 
tan. 1 



1 It was the fear of this that caused David to exclaim : 
Cast me not away in the time of age ; forsake me not 
when my strength faileth me- Forsake me not, O God, 
in mine old age, when I am grey-headed; until 1 have 
showed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to 
all them that are yet for to come. Psalm Ixxi. 8, 16. 

Q 



The gracious Lord, however, in his 
mercy, has not left us to our own vague 
conjectures and unsatisfactory probabili- 
ties. On the contrary, he has armed the 
Christian with an abundance of precious 
promises ; and has fortified his mind, 
against the hour of danger, with the most 
soothing assurances of his friendship and 
protection. He knoweth what is in man ; 
and has therefore provided him with arm- 
our of proof, to enable him to stand fast 
in the evil day of peril and adversity. He 
has repeatedly declared, that he will never 
forsake his servants, unless they resolutely 
and with a high hand forsake him ; but 
that he will preserve his heritage from all 
the assaults of hell, and safely conduct them 
into the realms of everlasting happiness. 

This God is our God for ever and ever ; he 
ll be our guide even unto death* Many 



Psalm xlviii. 14. 



243 

are the afflictions of the righteous ; but the 
Lord deliver eth him out of them all. 1 Cast 
thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sus- 
tain thee ; he shall never suffer the righteous 
to be moved.* Fear not, for I am with thee ; 
be not dismayed, for I am thy God ; I will 
strengthen thee, yea I will help thee, yea I 
will uphold thee with the right hand of my 
righteousness* 

Similar to these are the gracious assur- 
ances contained in the New Testament, 
which are admirably calculated to strength- 
en the hearts of the feeble and the dejected. 

I know in whom I have believed, says the 
Apostle, and am persuaded that he is able to 
keep that which I have committed to him 
until that day* Father, says our blessed 
Saviour, I will that they also, whom thou hast 
given me, be with me where I am ; that they 

1 Psalm xxxiv. 19. * Psalm Iv. 22. 

3 Isaiah xli. 10. * 2 Tim. i. 12. 



244 

may behold my glory which thou hast given 
me ; for thou lovedst me before the foundation 
of the world. 1 

In order to show the faithful how little 
they have to fear from the assaults of their 
enemies, and to convince them that God is 
on their side, Christ builds the safety of his 
Church upon Omnipotence itself: when 
that fails, the ultimate felicity of believers 
will be insecure ; but, till then, the gates 
of hell can never prevail against them. My 
sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and 
they follow me : and I give unto them eternal 
life ; and they shall never perish, neither 
shall any one" pluck them out of my hand. 

1 John xvii. 24. 

* The strength of the original Greek is nmch impaired 
in our translation, by inserting the word man, instead of 
the word one, after the pronoun any ; for the passage, 
when thus rendered, hath the appearance of limiting the 
declaration of Christ to a promise of protection only against 
human efforts. TJJ and ouSsij evidently relate, not merely, 
to terrestrial, but also to infernal, enemies. 



245 

Father, which gave them me, is greater 
than all; and no one is able to pluck them 
out of my Father's hand. 1 

The Almighty himself, moreover, merci- 
fully foreseeing what a hindrance it would 
be to his children in their spiritual progress 
if they had not good reason to rely upon 
his faithfulness, has confirmed the immu- 
tability of his counsel by an oath ;* and 
has been pleased to reveal himself to man 
by the two names of Jehovah and Elohim, 
the one descriptive of his self-existence, and 
the other allusive to that covenant which 
the eternal Three have sworn to ratify. 
This is the stedfast anchor of the soul ; the 
firm assurance of the certainty of all God's 
promises ; the termination of strife ; and 
the earnest of immortality. J God is not a 

1 John x. 27. a Heb. vi. 17. 

3 " Si tibi vir gravis et laudabilis aliquid polliceretur, 
haberes utique pollicenti fidem, nee te falli aut decipi ab 
eo crederes, quern stare in sermonibus atque actibus uis 



246 

man that he should lie ; neither the son of 
man that he should repent : hath he said, and 
shall he not do it ? or hath he spoken, and 
shall he not make it good ? \ 

But, notwithstanding God hath gracious- 
ly promised that he will never forsake those 
that love him ; yet, since man hath now 
recovered his lost freedom of will by the 
preaching of the Gospel, he may abuse it, 
like Adam, to his own destruction. As a 
man in the full vigour of health may be 
guilty of self-murder ; so may a Christian 
commit what may be termed spiritual sui- 
cide. In this case, it is not God that for- 
sakcth him, but he that forsaketh God. 

scires; mine Deus tecum loquitur; et tu mente incredula 
perfidus fluctuas ? Deus de hoc mundo recedenti tibi im- 
mortaliLuem atque seternitatem pollicetur ; et tu dubitas ? 
Hoc est Deum omnino non nosse : hoc est Christum cre- 
dentium Dominum et magistrutn peccato incredulitatis 
offendere : hoc est in ecclesia constitutum fidem in domo 
fidei non habere." Cyprian, de Mortal. 

1 Numb, xxiii. 19. 



247 

Hence the Apostle wholesomely advises, 
Let him, that thinketh he standeth, take heed 
lest he fall. Let him beware of a carnal 
security and a reliance upon sensible com- 
forts, lest he find too late by fatal experi- 
ence, that the promises of Scripture were 
not made to the unholy and the impenitent. 
St. Paul has intimated, that even he himself, 
after converting the whole Gentile world, 
might nevertheless be a cast-away, if he 
neglected to use the proper means to make 
his calling and election sure : * how greatly 
ought we then to beware, lest we gradually 
fall away from our first love, and so make 
shipwreck of our salvation. Too frequently 
do we behold persons, who originally set 
out well on their religious course, at length 

* / keep under my body, and bring it into subjection ; 
lest that by any means (Gr. PJTTCWJ), when I have preached 
to others, I myself should be a cast-away. 1 Corinth, ix. 
27- I apprehend^ that the difference between pjwaj and 
Ivoc pj, although they are both translated lest, is this ; that 
the former implies a possibility of danger, whereas the lat- 
ter relates only to the using of means to prevent something. 



248 

rejecting the counsel of God against them- 
selves, and dying in so reprobate a state 
that we cannot reasonably suppose them 
to be heirs of the promise. Like their types 
the rebellious Israelites, who perished in 
the wilderness after they had been delivered 
from the bondage of Egypt, these awful 
characters perish through unbelief ere 
they reach the confines of the heavenly 
Canaan : for it is impossible for those, who 
were once enlightened, and have tasted of the 
heavenly gift, and were made partakers of 
the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good 
word of God and the powers of the world to 
come, if they shall fall away, to renew them 
again unto repentance, seeing they crucify to 
themselves the Son of God afresh, and put 
him to an open shame. 1 Such persons seem 
to be pointed out by our Lord in his para- 
ble of the sower. They are the seed, which 
falls upon stony ground and soon springs 
up in full luxuriancy ; but, having no depth 

1 Heb vi. 4. 



249 

of soil, presently withers beneath the scorch- 
ing rays of the Sun. These melancholy ex- 
amples, while they strike the Christian with 
a wholesome terror, ought not to produce 
in him any distrust of the certainty of God's 
covenant. The Holy Spirit never leaves a 
man till after he has long striven with him 
in vain ; nor does God ever give any person 
up to destruction, till he has first given up 
himself. 

The righteous may indeed fall seven times 
in a day, and repeatedly grieve the Holy 
Ghost by his backwardness and perverse- 
ness. He knows and laments his own infir- 
mities, and his sins are ever before him : 
nevertheless, he resolutely strives against 
them, firmly relying upon the certainty of 
God's oath. This is his strong consolation 

o 

in the midst of all his trials ; if God be for us, 
who shall be against us f Christ hath died 
for us, yea rather hath risen again from the 
dead, and perpetually inaketh intercession 
for us. The Holy Spirit has engaged to 



250 

abide with us for ever ; * and the Father has 
covenanted to accept all those who come 
unto him in his Son's name. Here then is 
the sure refuge of the Christian. He relies 
upon the faithfulness of God, and diligently 
applies himself to the acquisition of those 
graces, which are required as necessary 
qualifications for the kingdom of heaven, 
Though his mind may at times be clouded 
with doubts and harassed with fears, the 
word of promise is his sure anchor. He 
strives to live by faith ; the consciousness 
of undeserved mercy stimulates him to a 
course of cheerful obedience ; and he la- 
bours to render unto God the best service, 
the service of the heart. He knows, that 
the Holy Spirit is not given to supersede 
the necessity of any endeavours on his part, 
but to enable him to labour more abun- 
dantly in the cause of religion ; not to pro- 
mote indolence, but to excite diligence. 
Hence, while he is confident of this very thing % 

* John xiv. 16. 



251 

that he, which hath begun a good work in him, 
will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ ;* 
he still continues to work out his own salva- 
tion with fear and trembling? 

Such is the strong ground of consolation 
which the Christian possesses ; a consola- 
tion not founded upon the deceitfulness of 
feeling, but upon a lively faith in the ex* 
press promises of God. Frequently is he 
necessitated to believe even against hope ; 
but, though his heart within him may be 
desolate, the Holy Spirit still supports him 
in the midst of his infirmities, and enables 
him to exclaim with the Psalmist, Though 
I walk through the valley of the shadow of 
death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with 
me, thy rod, and thy staff, they comfort me} 
Thus daily strengthened and sustained, he 
forgets those things which are behind, and 
presses forward to those which are yet before 
him : thus daily increasing in piety and 

1 Philip, i. 6. a Philip, ii. 12. 3 Psalm xlviii. 14. 



abounding in every good word and work, 
he by degrees grows up unto a perfect man, 
unto the measure of the st attire of the fulness 
of Christ. 1 Old things are passed away, and 
all things are become new. His understand- 
ing, his will, and his affections, are no 
longer prostituted to the service of Satan, 
but are devoted to the cause of God. Being 
''justified freely, he is made a son of God 
by adoption, made like the image of his 
only begotten Son Jesus Christ. He walks 
religiously in good works ; and at length, 
by God's mercy, attains to everlasting 
felicity/' 

The result, then, of the whole inquiry is 
this : that man by nature is born in sin, a 
child of wrath, and utterly unable either to 
think or to do any good by virtue of his own 
unassisted faculties : that, although Christ 
laid down his life for him, he cannot avail 
himself of the benefits which result from 

1 Eph.iv. 13. a Art. xvii. 



253 

that mysterious sacrifice, unless a change be 
effected in his understanding, his will, and 
his affections ; so that he may perceive his 
need of a Saviour, desire above all things 
to serve him, and unfeignedly love the way 
of his commandments : that, being dead 
in trespasses and sins, he is no more able 
to infuse life into his soul, than a corpse is 
to raise itself up from the grave : that the 
blessed spirit of God is the appointed agent 
to work this great change, to sanctify and 
comfort the heart of the believer, and to 
conduct him in safety to the realms of 
everlasting happiness : that he is the 
bestower of every good and every perfect 
gift, the breath of our spiritual life, and 
the support of our drooping courage : that 
through him we commence" our journey to 
heaven ; and that through him alone we are 
enabled to persevere even to the end : 
that, when he hides his face, we are trou- 
bled ; and, should he totally withdraw him- 
self, spiritual death would be the immediate 
consequence : but that we have a promise, 



that he will abide with us for ever ;* and on 
the strength of that promise, we go on our 
way, if not always rejoicing, yet always 
with such a degree of confidence as God in 
his wisdom judges to be sufficient for us. 
To him we have committed our souls 
through the merits of Christ Jesus ; and we 
wait, with a humble, a trembling, reliance 
upon his word, for that salvation, which he 
freely offers to all who are willing to accept 
it. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth ] 
but the word of our God shall stand fast for 
ever* The world may frown upon us, and 
the powers of darkness may league toge- 
ther against us ; but the rock, upon which 
we are founded, is the sure rock, the rock 
of ages. J 

1 John xiv. 16. * Isaiah xl. 8. 

3 How animated is the language of Cyprian, when he 
looks forward with the eye of faith to the happiness laid 
up for him in the kingdom of heaven. " Considerandum 
est, fratres dilectissimi, et ideutidem cogitandum, renunci- 
asse nos mundo, et tanquam hospites et peregrines isthic 



255 

Behold, all they that were incensed against 
thee, shall be ashamed and confounded : they 
shall be as nothing : and they that strive with 

interim degere. Amplectamur diem, qui assignat singulos 

domicilio suo ; qui nos isthinc ereptos, et laqueis seculari- 

bus exsolutos paradiso restituit, ct regno coelesti. Quis non 

peregre constitutus properaret in patriam regredi ? Quis 

non ad suos navigare festinans, ventum prosperum cupi- 

dius optaret, ut velociter caros liceret amplecti ? Patriam 

nostram Paradisum computemus, parentes padiarchas 

ha^ere jam coepimus ; quid non properamus et currimus, 

ut patriam nostram videre, ut parentes salutare possimus ? 

Magnus illic nos carorum numerus expectat, parentuin, 

fratrum, filiorum frequens nos et copiosa turba desiderat, 

jam de sua immortalitate secura, et adhuc de nostra salute 

solicita. Ad horum conspectum et complexum venire, 

quanta et illis et nobis in commune laetitia est ? Qualis 

illic crelestium regnorum voluptas sine timore moriendi, 

et cum seternitate vivendi? Quam summa et perpetua 

felicitas ? Illic Apostolorum gloriosus chorus : illic pro- 

phetarum exultantium numerus : illic martyrum innume- 

rabilis populus ob certaminis et passionis victoriam coro- 

natus : triumphantes illic virgines, quas concupiscentiam 

cai'nis et corporis, continentiae robore subegerunt : remu- 

nerati misericordes, qui alimentis et largitionibus pauperum 

justitiae opera fecerunt ; qui Dominica praecepta servantes 



256 

thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and 
shalt not find them, even them that contended 
with thee : they that war against thee shall 
be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For 
I, the Lord tJiy God, will hold thy right 
hand, saying unto thee, Fear not, I will help 
thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye 
men of Israel : I will help tJiee, saith the 
Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of 
Israel Even the youths shall faint and be 
weary, and the young men shall utterly fall : 
but they, that wait upon the Lord, shall renew 
their strength ; they shall mount up with 
wings as eagles ; they shall run, and not be 
weary ; they shall walk, and not faint. 1 

ad coelestes thesauros terrena patrimonia transtulerunt. 
Ad hos, fratres dilectissimi, avida cupiditate properemus; 
ut cum his cito esse, ut cito ad Christum venire contingat, 
optemus." De Mortal. 
1 Isaiah xl. 30. and xli. 1 1 . 



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